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Thursday, May 6, 1999 Published at 23:09 GMT 00:09 UK

World: South Asia

Indian held in murder scandal

People in India's capital have been horrified by the murder

Police in India say they have arrested the man suspected of shooting dead a well-known model and socialite in a fashionable Delhi restaurant.

The suspect Manu Sharma, who proclaims his innocence, gave himself up after a week-long manhunt.

BBC's Satish Jacob: One reason Delhi was so shocked was that the murder seemed so senseless
Police said he surrendered in Chandigarh, capital of the northern Punjab state, after reading newspaper reports that his father, a prominent state politician, had been taken to hospital.

Jessica Lal was working behind the bar at a favourite watering hole of Delhi's elite, when the shooting took place.

The Tamarind Court is run by possibly Delhi's most famous socialite, Bina Ramani.

And it seems that it was illegally serving drinks on the night to hundreds of people.

The police say that well after midnight the suspect went to the bar and demanded a drink.

Jessica Lal refused and without any further provocation he allegedly pulled a gun and shot her in the head.

She died later in hospital.

From the accounts of eyewitnesses, it seems that none of the guests attempted to stop Manu Sharma leaving the restaurant and driving off.

Delhi horrified

The murder has horrified the people of Delhi, prompting an intense debate about the morals of the rich and the powerful.

[ image: One of the suspected accomplices led away by police]
One of the suspected accomplices led away by police
Jessica Lal's murder comes a few months after another shocking incident, this time involving three rich young men driving a BMW after a session of drinking.

They allegedly ran over six men, five of whom died.

In this case, what shocked people was the way the men allegedly got out of the car on impact, saw the injuries of the victims and instead of helping them drove on.

Also this year, two young men shot dead a restaurant guard and wounded another when they were denied drinks.

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