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Release Sushil Sharma 'forthwith', orders HC

Release Sushil Sharma forthwith, orders HC
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New Delhi: Former youth Congress leader Sushil Kumar Sharma, serving a life term for the murder of his wife Naina Sahni in 1995, is to be released "forthwith", the Delhi High Court directed on Friday, saying that various positive recommendations underline his readiness to be integrated in society. 56-year-old Sharma has already undergone over two decades of incarceration in the 'Tandoor murder' case.

While allowing his plea for release from jail, a bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said: "It is incumbent upon us to observe that the recommendations of Social Welfare Department, probationary officer and prison authorities which clearly and unequivocally allure to reformation of Sharma have not been accorded due weightage in determining his representation.

"The positive recommendation underlines his readiness to be reintegrated in the society. It also records that Sharma is in semi open jail and participating in construction work."

Sharma had shot dead his wife in 1995, objecting to her alleged relationship with a male friend. He had then attempted to burn her body in a restaurant oven.

The Tandoor murder case is one of the landmark cases in India in which DNA evidence and a second autopsy were used to establish the guilt of the accused. The high court set aside and quashed recommendations of the sentence review board (SRB) which had rejected Sharma's representation for pre-mature release.

It also set aside the "non-speaking affirmation" of SRB's recommendations by the Lieutenant Governor, who is the competent authority. The board, which was constituted in 2004 as per Supreme Court directives and is chaired by the Delhi Home Minister, decides on the pleas of convicts and other related issues. The board also has representatives of Tihar Jail, Delhi Police and Home Department as its members.

It examines the records of those who have spent more than 14 years in jail and those who were given life term.

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