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Last Updated: Friday, 2 February 2007, 08:41 GMT
India model killer files appeal
Jessica Lal
Prosecutors said Ms Lal was shot for refusing to serve a drink
The son of an Indian politician has appealed in the Supreme Court against a lower court order that sentenced him to life in prison for murdering a model.

Manu Sharma, son of former Congress party federal minister Venod Sharma, was convicted of shooting Jessica Lal dead in a Delhi restaurant in 1999.

In December, the Delhi High Court sent Sharma to prison, overturning a previous acquittal by a lower court.

The prosecution had demanded that Sharma be sentenced to death.

Prosecutors said Manu Sharma fired at Jessica Lal after she refused to serve him a drink at a fashionable restaurant in the capital where she was working as a waitress.

Several eyewitnesses came forward to the police, but by the time the case came to trial seven years later key eyewitnesses had retracted their statements.

On Thursday, the Delhi High Court demanded explanations from 26 people who retracted their statements in the murder case.

Outrage

The trial had collapsed in February 2006 when the lower court judge said the prosecution's case contained loopholes and there was insufficient evidence to convict.

The acquittals sparked public outrage, with protest rallies and a sustained media campaign launched to demand justice for Lal, who was 34 when she was killed.

Police appealed against the acquittals and opened an investigation into allegations that there had been a conspiracy to pervert justice.

The case was reopened and Sharma was sentenced to life imprisonment last December.


SEE ALSO
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21 Feb 06 |  South Asia
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06 May 99 |  South Asia

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