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Tandoor murder case: HC asks govt for reason to deny Sharma’s claim

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today directed Delhi government to produce before it a reason on the basis of which the plea of Sushil Sharma, former youth Congress leader convicted in tandoor murder case, for his premature release from Tihar jail was rejected.

Justice Siddharth Mridul also sought the record of the decision, if any, passed by the Lieutenant Governor (LG) in Sharma’s case.

Despite the decision taken by the Sentence Reviewing Board (SRB), which is headed by Delhi government’s minister and officials, premature release is subject to approval of the LG.

The court’s direction came on a plea by Sharma’s counsel Sumeet Verma who alleged that without any communication from the competent authority (the LG) about finality of the decision, the accused was forced to return to jail on April 12.

The government’s home department had informed them about the LG’s decision, which is not on record, on May 2, Verma said.

The court said that since the decision of SRB is here, the convict’s prayer dose not survive any more.

It, however, expressed displeasure over the reason given by the government for rejecting the convict’s release and said that there is nothing against him.

“It is due to the gravity of the offence, his application for premature release has been rejected. You can’t decide in an arbitrary manner. I will issue notice to Delhi government and the LG. You file an affidavit explaining the merit on which you have rejected,” the court said and fixed the matter for May 25.

The high court had on September 15 last year said Sharma will remain out of jail on parole till the time the competent authority decides his plea seeking remission and premature release.

Sharma in his application has contended that he remained in jail for over 25 years, which is maximum as per SRB guidelines, so he be released from jail.

Sharma has been convicted for the sensational murder of his wife Naina Sahni. He had shot her with his licensed revolver on July 2, 1995, took her body to a restaurant, chopped it into pieces and tried to burn them in a restaurant’s oven. The case came to be known as ‘Tandoor murder case’.

The Supreme Court had commuted to life imprisonment the death penalty awarded to Sharma by a trial court in 2003 and upheld by the high court in 2007, saying the murder was the outcome of “strained personal relationship” and the convict was “not a confirmed criminal”.

While reducing the sentence awarded to him, the apex court had said “life sentence is for the whole of remaining life of Sharma subject to remission granted by the appropriate government under Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).