Sabrina Lall, the woman who fought a long battle with corruption and several loopholes in the Indian legal system to deliver justice to her late sister, Jessica Lall, passed away on the 15th of August. Reportedly, she had been suffering from cirrhosis of the liver for a long time. “She was not keeping well and had been in and out of the hospital. Yesterday, her condition deteriorated at home and we took her to hospital. Today (15th August), in the evening, she passed away.” Sabrina’s brother said as per PTI.
Siddharth Vashisht, aka Manu Sharma, the son of an influential MP had shot Jessica Lall dead in April 1999 at a club in South Delhi where she worked as a bartender. He had been acquitted in the initial trial due to his political connections. Sabrina Lall, then, became the driving force behind Manu’s final conviction and his life imprisonment sentence pronounced in 2006. The murder also sparked national outrage and became an emblem of rampant corruption in the Indian judiciary.
In an interview with Official Humans of Bombay, Sabrina opened up about her struggles in bringing justice to her sister. She expressed that manipulation from Sharma’s family and hostile witnesses threatened the case to a good measure. “Once, Mr Manu Sharma’s parents came home with a bouquet. On one hand, they were threatening witnesses, on the other, they were playing the sympathy card,” she said.
Sabrina also spoke to PTI in 2020 about her plan to build a foundation in memory of her sister to deliver justice to women in similar situations. She called Jessica Lall her closest friend and had said that she missed her sister’s presence everyday. “She was jovial and positive in life. It is not just on birthdays and death anniversaries that I miss her, it is every day. I have lots of pictures of hers in my home and not that I need them to miss her, but they are there to remind me of her,” said Sabrina’s statement to PTI.
Sharma was released from prison in 2020 on grounds of good conduct during imprisonment. In 2018, Sabrina had consented to his release and said that she had no objections against it. “It will be like catharsis to forgive and move on. I also need to get on with my life,” she had mentioned in her letter to the welfare office of Tihar Jail.
Following his bail, Sabrina had told PIT, “I really do not have anything to say. I am not feeling anything. I feel numb. The only thing I hope and pray to God is that he never thinks of repeating that mistake again.” On walking free from jail, Sharma expressed gratitude to Sabrina and her family along with remorse for his deeds. In an interview with Hindustan Times, he said, “I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused them. I am eternally grateful for their magnanimity.”
Sabrina shall always be remembered as an epitome of fierce strength and kindness by the entire nation. Her last rites were performed on the afternoon of 16 August 2021.