Tandoor murder case: Court orders immediate release of convict Sushil Sharma

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New Delhi | Updated: December 21, 2018 4:29:14 PM

Flagging human rights, the court had asked earlier this week why a person should continue to be in jail even if that person has served his sentence.

Former Congress youth leader Sushil Kumar Sharma was convicted for the murder of his wife Naina Sahni in 1995, which came to be known as the tandoor murder case. (Source: Archive)

Not many can forget the 1995 Tandoor murder case in which Sushil Sharma was convicted of killing his wife Naina Sahni and putting her body in a burning tandoor or oven.

Twenty three years after the incident, the Delhi High Court said on Friday that Sharma who has spent over 20 years in jail after his conviction must be released immediately.

Flagging human rights, the court had asked earlier this week why a person should continue to be in jail even if that person has served his sentence.

In 1995, Sushil Sharma killed his wife Naina Sahni, accusing her of having an extra-marital affair. His act of chopping her body into pieces and trying to burn her body in a restaurant oven grabbed headlines across the country. Sharma was then a youth Congress leader.

In 2003, he received death sentence by the court, which was later confirmed by the Delhi High Court in the year 2007. The Supreme Court commuted his death sentence in 2013.

The murder now known as the ‘tandoor (oven) murder case’ had become one of the landmark cases in the country that used DNA evidence as well as a second autopsy to prove the guilt of the accused.

Now 56 years old, Sharma appealed in his petition in the court that he has already served the maximum sentence for his conviction and asked for his release, citing the 29 years he spent in jail.

The Court cited his incarceration of 25 years that included remission. While admitting that the murder was brutal, the court said that Sharma has served the prescribed sentence.

Adding that the human rights are inalienable, the court that the “Sentence Review Board (SRB) cannot say no no this murder was brutal, so we will not release him.” If the authorities are allowed to “keep a person in jail indefinitely, where do we draw the line, said the bench, adding that this way “nobody will be released ever for committing a murder”.

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Sharma in his plea also cited the judgement by the Supreme Court, which while reducing his death sentence to life, had said that Sharma was not a “confirmed criminal” and no evidence suggested that “he was likely to commit such crimes in future.”

Sharma has also said that his conduct in prison and on parole has been “exemplary” and put forth the point that he has never misused his liberty and would now like to look after his ailing parents who are over 80.

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