A Delhi court Tuesday acquitted all nine accused including Manu Sharma, son of former Union minister Vinod Sharma, in the case of sensational murder of model Jessica Lal in a restaurant owned by noted socialite Bina Ramani.
Additional Sessions Judge S L Bhayana acquitted Siddarth Vashist alias Manu Sharma of charges of murder and Vikas Yadav, Tony Gill, Alok Khanna of charges of destruction of evidence.
Shyam Sunder Sharma was acquitted of charges of destruction of evidence and harbouring an accused. Four others were also acquitted on the similar charges.
Sharma, who surrendered on Monday after being out on bail since April 12 last year, was the main accused in the case.
Lal was murdered in the intervening night of April 29 and 30, 1999 at a restaurant owned by noted socialite Bina Ramani at Qutub Colonade in South Delhi.
Chronology of events:
Following is the chronology of events in the Jessica Lal murder case, in which all the accused were acquitted by a Patiala court:
April 29/30, 1999: Model Jessica Lal shot dead at the Tamarind Court, a restaurant owned by socialite Bina Ramani, in Qutab Institutional Area in south Delhi. Siddharth Vashisht, alias Manu Sharma, is the prime murder suspect.
May 4, 1999: Co-accused, Amardeep Singh Gill alias Tony and Ashok Khanna, arrested. They, along with Vikas Yadav, had allegedly gone with Sharma that night, and helped him flee.
May 6, 1999: Manu Sharma surrenders in Chandigarh.
May 8, 1999: Amit Jhingan, Sharma's friend, arrested for allegedly getting bloodstains cleaned up from murder-scene.
May 8, 1999: Bina Ramani, husband Georges Mailhot, and daughter Malini arrested, and later bailed out, under the Excise Act, for serving liquor without a license.
May 10, 1999: Rajya Sabha MP D P Yadav, father of the absconding Vikas Yadav, interrogated by the Delhi police.
May 10, 1999: Joint Commissioner of Police (New Delhi range) Y S Dadwal, who was at the restaurant on April 30, is relieved from his post. Earlier, he claimed to have been unaware of the bar being run without a license.
May 14, 1999: Accused Shyam Sunder Sharma, relative of former President Shanker Dayal Sharma, released on bail, one day after his arrest for allegedly harbouring Manu Sharma.
May 19, 1999: Vikas Yadav 'surrenders', armed with an anticipatory bail from an Imphal (Manipur) court.
Aug 3, 1999: Chargesheet filed against 12 persons.
Nov 24, 2000: Charges framed by the court.
May 3, 2001: Prosecution suffers setback when key eyewitness Shayan Munshi, turns hostile and fails to identify Manu Sharma as the man who had fired the shot.