A Delhi high court judge on Wednesday recused from hearing the parole plea of tandoor case convict Sushil Kumar Sharma, awarded life imprisonment for the murder and burning of the body of his wife Naina Sahni in 1995, and referred it to be listed before another bench.
Justice Mukta Gupta recused from hearing the matter and directed the petition be listed before another bench on July 16. Justice Gupta, before being elevated to the bench, had been representing Delhi police as a lawyer and had dealt with the tandoor case in the high court.
Meanwhile, Delhi police submitted its status report regarding the contentions made by Sharma in his parole plea. Sharma has sought parole for three months on the ground that his mother has been advised to undergo knee surgery and subsequent physiotherapy for three months and that he needs to take care of her during that period.
The former youth Congress leader has also challenged the May 22 order of the Delhi government by which his mother’s plea to grant him parole was rejected on the ground that he had availed parole from December 2013 to March 2014 and six months have not elapsed since his surrender.
Sharma, however, has contended that the parole guidelines have been amended on March 21 and now there is no need for a six month gap, as contended by the government. Sharma, who was granted furlough on June 3 for three weeks by the Director General of Prisons, had surrendered on June 26.
The Supreme Court on October 8 last year had commuted to life imprisonment the death penalty awarded to Sharma for the murder and burning of the body of his wife in a tandoor, saying “brutality” alone would not justify death sentence.
On the intervening night of July 2-3, 1995, Sharma had shot dead Naina, suspecting her of having an affair with someone else, and then tried to destroy evidence by burning her body in the tandoor of his restaurant Bagia, the court had noted in its verdict.
The trial court in 2003 had awarded the death sentence to Sharma which was upheld by the Delhi High Court in 2007.