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Jessica Lal Shooting Case:

Her friends describe her as bubbly, vivacious and full of life. But one bullet ended that life on April 30, 1999.

Model Jessica Lal was an avid party animal. On that fateful night she was the celebrity bartender at a bash hosted by socialite Bina Ramani at her Delhi restaurant, the Tamarind Court.

Siddhartha Vashishta alias Manu Sharma, son of former Union minister Venod Sharma, allegedly shot her in the head with a .22 calibre pistol when she refused to serve him a drink.

Jessica, according to the police, was taken to a hospital in Safdurjung Enclave. She was later declared dead at the Apollo Hospital. The All India Institute of Medical Science conducted her post-mortem.

As the police started investigations, the dragnet widened to include as suspects Member of Parliament D P Yadav's son Vikas, Coca-Cola officials Alok Khanna and Amardeep Singh Gill, Sunder Sharma, Amit Jhingan, Yograj Singh, Harvinder Chopra, Vikas Gill, Raja Chopra, Ravinder Krishan Sudan and Dhanraj.

The police said Jessica wasn't the only celebrity bartender. Bina Ramani's daughter Malini and model and actor Shayan Munshi were also there.

When the bash was coming to a close, Manu and his friends Amardeep, Alok, Amit and Vikas allegedly entered the restaurant and demanded liquor from Jessica.

When she told him that liquor was not available, he lost his temper and fired once in the air and the second time at Jessica.

Manu fled with his friends in a Tata Sierra. According to the charge sheet, he spent the night in Vikas's Ghaziabad house. The car was found abandoned in NOIDA.

Manu later surrendered and was arrested on May 6 in Chandigarh. He has been in custody since.

Also See

Interview with Jessica's father

The Bina Ramani interview

Whose life is it anyway?

'The hostess with mostest'

Complete coverage of the case

Vikas -- who is the prime accused in the Nitish Katara murder case -- was nabbed on May 30, 1996, and is in custody.

When the case went to court, prosecution witnesses started turning hostile. There are over 100 prosecution witnesses in the case.

In an interview to, Jessica's father Ajit Lal expressed anguish at one of the main witnesses -- Shayan -- turning hostile.
'We were shell-shocked when he refused to identify the accused... we thought he would say 'I am not sure', etc... It looked as if he was a defence witness,' he said.

But Malini, a US national, did not turn hostile.

'I got into the restaurant at 0145 am with my friend, Mr Sanjay Mehtani, to find something to eat. I saw Jessica Lal, Shayan Munshi and a couple of waiters there,' she told the court.

Shayan Munshi Four or five young men, said Malini, entered the restaurant a little later. She said one of them -- 'in his 20s, fat, fair complexioned and wearing a white T-shirt and jeans' -- asked Jessica for two whiskeys. Jessica refused saying the bar was closed.

Soon the two were arguing, Malini said, adding that when she intervened the man told her that he had 'enough cash to pay for the drinks'. She said she told him that 'it does not matter. I cannot provide the drink even for a thousand rupees as it is not available'.

The man, according to Malini, told her that he could 'have a sip of her for a thousand rupees'. At this, she said, she felt irritated and left the room.

'A couple of minutes later Shayan Munshi came rushing to me screaming that Jessica had been shot. I fainted on hearing that,' she told the court.

'I am sure he is the same person,' she said pointing to Manu.

Also See:
Naina Sahni Murder
Priyadarshini Mattoo Murder
Shivani Bhatnagar Murder
Maulana Azad Medical College Rape
Siri Fort Rape
Alarming Trends
A Ray of Hope

Also See: Terror at the Gateway

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