It began on the night of 29th April, 1999, when Jessica Lal, a modelÂ in Delhi was attendingÂ the party of a leading socialite BinaÂ Ramani , who had organized a party at her recently inaugurated restaurant, â€œTamarind Courtâ€.Although they were not authorized to sell liquor, yet drinks were being served on the house, by many of her friends and models.Jessica too had been invited to be the celebrity barmaid. When all the drinks had been exhausted, one of the guests Manu Sharma, the son of a wealthy Congress politician, Vinod Sharma, asked for more drinks. But when Jessica refused, he shot her point blank on the forehead. She was declared dead.
Manu Sharma was absconding but was later arrested and tried. The trial followed for 7 years and he was acquitted along with his friends on 21st February, 2006.
There were public demonstrations, intense media coverage and pressure from all walks of life, demanding justice for Jessica.
Owing to immense pressure, he was tried again by fast track proceedings of the Delhi High Court and Manu was sentenced to life imprisonment, on the 20th of December, 2006.
People celebrated as hopes arose that no one was above the law, no matter how powerful he is and that justice though delayed will not be denied.
While Manu Sharma was serving his sentence, in Tihar Jail, he requested a 30 day parole on the grounds that he wanted to attend to his ailing mother and had some urgent family business to attend to.
He was granted a 30 day parole on theÂ 24th of September, which was later extended by 30 more days on 22nd October on the recommendation of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
While on parole he was seen partying with his friend Sahil Dhingra at the F bar lounge of Hotel Ashoka, where he and his armed guards Â had a tiff with the policemen and a few guests.
Before the police arrived they slipped into a nearby hotel owned by Arjun Ramphal , a prominent film actor. CCTV footage gave Manu Sharma away and he was nabbed once again.
As for his â€˜ailingâ€™ mother, she looked hale and hearty as she was seen holding a press conference on womenâ€™s cricket tournament in their own Piccadily hotel in Chandigarh.
Before matters could get worse Sharma surrendered and went back to Tihar Jail 10 days before his parole expired.
Eyebrows are being raised at the guidelines on which a parole should be given. Some are of the opinion that criminals do not deserve sympathy; they should suffer for what they have done. What is your take?