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Rediff.com  » News » Jessica's kin hail verdict, thank media and people

Jessica's kin hail verdict, thank media and people

Last updated on: April 19, 2010 13:54 IST

People associated with the 11-year-old Jessica Lal murder case on Monday hailed the Supreme Court verdict upholding the life-imprisonment given to Manu Sharma.

"It is not impossible to convict high-profile people if society works together," Sabrina Lal, the sister of the model-cum-bartender, told reporters.

Expressing happiness over the judgment, she said that while the lower court had acquitted them but with the support of media and people, the accused have been convicted.

"Final door has been closed on this (issue). It has given us a lot of relief and satisfaction that the Supreme Court has upheld the verdict of the High Court," she said.

Justice R S Sodhi, who delivered the verdict convicting and sentencing Manu in the High Court, thanked the media for its cooperation but said that the case was decided on merits.

"I am so happy that media has given so much attention to this case. But believe me now, this case was decided on merits. It did take a long time to shift the papers and also we had to read between the lines to come to the truth," he said.

Lal decried the act of Shyan Munshi, the witness who turned hostile, and demanded that such perjurious persons should be given punishment to prevent such cases in future.

"His (Munshi) role was terrible. Being a complainant in the case, he messed it up far more than he should have. Despite whatever threat he was under, he was the only educated and affluent boy who should not have succumbed to that extent," she said, adding that punishment should be given as it will work as a deterrent.

"Unless somebody is held accountable and punished for the crime, it will carry on," she said.

Bina Ramani, the key witness in the case, also welcomed the decision and said that she will fight to have a strong witness protection programme in place.

"I will relentlessly fight to have a strong witness protection programme in place," she said.

Ramani demanded punishment for people indulging in perjury to prevent delay in justice.

"We should punish such people. There must be strong punishment laid out in the court for people who perjure themselves to prevent this kind of thing again," she said.

Neelam Katara, mother of Nitish Katara, who was murdered by Vikas and Vishal Yadav, hailed the decision as a victory of law-abiding citizens of the country.

Katara advocated for reform in police to make investigation and prosecution independent.

"Agency (investigating) should be provided high technology (to make them more efficient)," she said.

Bollywood actress Vidya Balan, who is playing a role in a film based on Lal's case, said she was happy with the verdict as it reinforces her faith in the judicial system.

"As a citizen, I am very ecstatic. It really reinforces my faith in judicial system and judiciary of the country. Eleven years is a very long time but it is still reassuring that finally justice was meted out," the actress said.

She hoped that such delay would not occur in other cases. "I am hoping that other cases do not take this much of time."

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