‘The Sharmas were buying people off’


Tehelka:I will just start with the night. Who called you? What happened that night?

Sabrina Lall: I got a call at about 2:30 in the morning. I took me a while, finally picked up the phone. I friend of mine pradeep, he told me that Jessica is hurt. Hurry up and come. I didn’t the gravity of the situation….Jessica used to get scraps all the time….i said its OK take her to the doctor. Finally he said, no! she has been shot. That’s when it hit me…shock! Complete shock! Rushed straight to the Ashlok Hospital.

Tehelka: and that night other witnesses told you what happened, how it happened?

Sabrina Lall: at that point when we reached hospital lot of people had come Tamarind Court. Out of them one was Shayan. Shayan Munshi…had worked with her. I knew him. I recognized him. And he was one who was hurt, very upset….and he was relating to the police officer who was standing next to him. We stood around him, we were keen to know what had happened. He related the incident. How he walked in and demanded a drink and then had some words with Manani manani left, took out his gun,I know how to get what I want,.shot one in the air and then apparently Jessica told him to calm down we cannot serve the you the alcohol. Bar is closed. That’s how the attention shifted t Jessica. And then he shot her. And then we tried to find out who he was and then he described him, this is the kind of body he had, ….so things weren’t working at Ashlok hospital, we then took her to Apollo. But then she died on the way to Apollo.

Tehelka: Shayan that night was clear in mind…

Sabrina Lall: Absolutely. No doubt in the boys mind. Because must have been young at that point in time. Could be 19 or 20 years old. He was visibly shaken. But he was relaying the incident very clearly. He was talking in the broken mix of both Hindi and English. And explaining to the police what had happened that night. They read it back to him and he signed on it. Four or five of us were standing around him.

Tehelka: he was also speaking in Hindi to the cops?

Sabrina Lall: see! For example my Hindi is not very fluent. But if someone ask in Hindi, I would break into bit of English here and there. He was basically replying like that.

Tehelka: he knew exactly how she was shot?
Sabrina Lall: Of course! He told us very clearly that he could recognize the boy. And subsequently, next day, identified Manu Sharma and signed on the photograph.

Tehelka: what then happened to Shayan Munshi?

Sabrina Lall: well to my mind it is evident that he got some major financial inducements. Everybody said how can be blame the boy, he is scared for his life, he is young. Attitude of Shayan Munshi pulls apart. The walked into the court-extremely confident- it was like a rehearsed play, like a rehearsed situation, scene where he come and says no I don’t speak Hindi so kindly question me in English. Rehearsed one to one. And he mentioned how two different boys came and one shot there and the other shot at Jessica. Again given credence to the defense theory of two guns. Things they introduced. So the boy scared …so when it came to recognizing Manu Sharma, fair enough, was a sketch, wasn’t he. But why would you make all this up and go completely in the favour of the defense. ..so all this is because of the financial inducements.

Tehelka: you were completely shocked…….

Sabrina Lall: NO! Lets put it like this. I tried to get in touch with Shayan Munshi. Long time I have been trying to get in touch with Munshi. Days; weeks after the incident. Wasn’t returning the calls. We were told lie low at the moment. Nothing to worry about. He is fine. When later we tried to contact him, he didn’t reply. Then my business partner went to the Guide Hotel to find out. As a family member you can understand any one being scared when such people are involved. What wanted him to say was hello! I am too sacred I am not going to do it. Or I have it in me I can do it. But he went and spoilt everything by supporting the defense theory. Messed up the case completely. That is one thing that will hole against Shayan Munshi more then any body else because he really nailed the coffin as they say as far as the case is concerned. So theer was no comeback from it. After which we met up with Karan Rajput he is the other eyewitness in this case. And he quite blatantly told me that accept nothing form Shayan Munshi, he is got couple of crores in his back pocket. So do not expect anything from him. Again one doesn’t mind, you take your couple of crores but just stick to the truth. Why do have to mess up by talking of two different people with the gun when that wasn’t correct.

Tehelka: what about Karan Rajput why did he also turn hostile?

Sabrina Lall: Karan Rajput is very much in touch with me. And from day one he kept insisting that he would take money from the Sharmas but he will testify in our favour in court.
Tehelka: did he take money from the Sharmas

Sabrina Lall: he said it in the sense that he will take money from the Sharmas but testify in your favour. This was the game he was playing. At particular point in time when he needed money we paid him the money. Ten I gave him some money. Because he wasn’t working at all….at some point in time he needed help so I gave him the money. And he used to keep telling what was happening on the otherside, how they gave him the money. What all they told him. Step to step…talk to him to find out whats going on.eventually when it came to him testifying in the court..he was not in town. I mother, hey kidnapped my mother. So that’s why I got scared. Whatever..of course manoj Sharma wouldn’t have picked her up..but somebody..related to that side.

Tehelka:so basically he played a smart game took money from both the sides…

Sabrina Lall: one wouldn’t tell with Karan Rajput what he would actually want to do. or what he would eventually …sometimes now I feel in retrospect that every time those guys paid him he would come back to us …and tell them ..or may be they would offer more money. I do not know what it was. Or may be somewhere doen the line he genuinely want to help…haven’t figured out that as yet. After he gave his testimony I came to know that. Very apologetic. Once he landed up in the hospital called me, and mummy, we both went to meet him, he was extremely apologetic because he felt that he is about to go. His liver was in bad shape. But I will make it up to you call the police now; I will give correct testimony. Chain and money…this is the money I have taken from you. Of course we did not take anything back. So with all this tone feels that there was a shred of conscience in him that he felt bad about what had happened.


Sabrina Lall: I did. I used to speak to Surinder Sharma on a daily basis ..very often.. surinder Sharma told my dad that he is fed up. He is playing on both the sides.

Tehelka: Karan Rajput named Anil Mahajan

Sabrina Lall: Yes. A gentleman called Anil Mahajan. We used to see him in court we knew who he was talking about. So this gentleman met Karan Rajput and asked him to meet at Chancellor?? Club. We asked him to tell what happened? He said I will go a step further I will record the conversation. So we brought him cassette player. He took it and went off. Next day we called up: what happened? He made us hear that cassette..where the gentle clearly telling him that you have seen what you have seen. girl has died. she is gone you can’t bring her back. Why don’t you take money from us and help us out. so that out boy is saved.

Tehelka: you didn’t ask a copy of the tape?

Sabrina Lall: he didn’t give us. We kept asking for it. Why don’t you give copy to us. I will keep it for a while,
Give you later..later and then somehow we didn’t get it.
Tehelka: the cops don’t know about the cassette?
Sabrina Lall: Surinder Sharma I was talking to on the daily basis must have told him this. I am not very sure about that. One knows that it is not admissible in the court. You know! I didn’t make a bige deal about it. It was for my own knowledge because everyone was talking about …it was very evident tha way they handled Karan rajput and threat that they wasn’t used. It was financial.

Tehelka: was he blatant we he came and asked you or money
Sabrina Lall: Karan Rajput?..Not so blatant. I he didn’t demand money from me. I am going through some tough time..short of money…that’s it..I felt bad about it.. we all felt eventually he would get us ..not that I could afford very much but whatever I could 25,000-30,000 he wanted that point in time I gave him…whatever one could come up with.
Tehelka: on the hind side what about the police investigation.
Sabrina Lall: at that time I had no option but to believe them and trust them…I actually developed some rapport with the investigating officer. He was decent chap. The way he talked to , the way he portrayed things to me, spoke to me I thought he is on the right direction. There was a time bullet changing came up. I talked to Mr Amodh Kant because he was at the helm of the investigations and he was like little short with me on phone..no no you have trust somebody somewhere you have to put your trust on police officer..we are looking into it and that was the end of it. So at that point of time I thought they were doing okay. Hindsight it is coming to me that they didn’t do good job.

Tehelka: emotions..what did you feel about the judgment..

Sabrina Lall: like in most of the situations one could presume somewhere in the back of your mind you can feel things are not in the right direction….but it still hits you. its hard because it puts a closure on something you were waiting for a longtime. Somehow you get above it. That’s it. There is no where else to go, then on. This is the end. Due to all the problems in my family, in my own personal life, it was terrible, you feel let down,…it was not like bolt of the blue…one was expecting it.

Tehelka: how did your father take it?

Sabrina Lall: dad was not very well. He had two or three strokes by then. So how much of it he actually absorbed one cannot tell but he used to roam around looking quite upset. and if you speak to him and asked what he wants ..Something of what on stung him, sink into him ..Shortly after that he felt more sick and then he died. all this resulted in that. We don’t know if the person doesn’t talk, can’t bring out their thoughts clearly what’s going inside their mind.
(New file) 0595
Tehelka: Manu Sharma bail??

Sabrina Lall: the moment Manu Sharma got bail in 2002 January I stopped going to the court. I told my father I m sorry I am not up to it anymore; I am fed up. I grieved with my father. That up set my mom, she said Sabrina you got to go. you cannot give up so soon. You know! Shortly after that she was detected cancer and she passed away in September 2002.

Tehelka: out cry after judgment, people took to streets; tat gave some hope, solace?

Sabrina Lall: of course it did because it was complete unexpected. Like most situations there will be a coloun somewhere in the newspaper-lie sown and you will have to live with it for the rest of your life. You look up to the god and say this is what you wanted, this is what has happened and there is no control over it.. and then with this sudden outcry and public opinion , suddenly you know things stirred up ..you felt now something will come out of it. You felt that now your sister sitting up their, your mother sitting there, so now may be they are making something happen, they are not letting it go. What is this you never know, this is unprecedented, I have never seen or heard a case where people have taken to street to anybody’s acquittal. Sometimes you feel that there is a bigger force, a bigger picture one feels for second win, there is a chance.

Tehelka: relations with Malini

Sabrina Lall: perfectly fine. Malini and Jessica were friend you must understand. That’s the reason why Jessica was there serving behind the bar.. we have not been family friends, one has only been in touch post this incidence ..first couple of months just discount that because something were not clear at that point of time. Some sort of misunderstandings but ever since then they have been perfectly fine. Malini would come over and meet my mom, they would come over..jessica’s death anniversary Malini had comeover. No problem what so ever with them.
Tehelka: now fresh investigations. ..cops giving special attention what sense you get out of the current investigations?

Sabrina Lall: initially I was in touch with the investigating officers, surrinder Sharma, Gogia or Yadav. I ahd a better feel of what was going on at that point of time then now. I am completely lost. This tiem I have no first hand information as to what is going on. Only information I get is what you write about. So I don’t know. My only apprehension is that recently there has been lot of talk about Bina what she ahs done. Legal or illegal. Fair enough, someone has done something wrong action should be taken. Though, it should have been taken many years ago. Fair enough. I am just hoping that they are not shifting their attention or focus away from Manu Sharma because at the end of the day . personally it makes no difference whether she goes to jail for forgery or not. She is a friend I hope not. Make no difference to my life. My basic focus, everybody focus should be the main accused Manu Sharma. I want to see him convicted.

Tehelka: has Sharma family tried to reach ..
Sabrina Lall: to me? No but they came and met my parents when I was not in the town way back in 1999. I was out of station. Both Venod Sharma and his wife came over and met my parents.
Tehelka: in your absence??
Sabrina Lall:I presume they were waiting for me to move out, I am not in town. Waiting for me not to be in house. …opportune moment when I am not in the town.
Tehelka: how they reacted???
Sabrina Lall: my father was shocked when he opened the door. Papa used to recognize him because he used to some to court with me. Mom may or may not have recognized this gentleman. He was standing at the door. Obviously he said some in and sit down. So they sat down, called my mother, no body said anything to anyone. It was uncomfortable silence because no body knew what to say.. They were silent no body wanted to say anything. They had a two bouquet of flowers; there was huge photograph of Jessica up there in the drawing room so they say one of her.
Tehelka: what could be the reason?
Sabrina Lall: I presume it was their gesture, their way of saying that I am sorry for their son. What else could be the reason.

Tehelka: what was your reaction?
Sabrina Lall: I remember calling to my mother, and when she told that they came with flower. I said, they came to our house and you let them in? You had tea with them. I said, are you mad? What would you do, caught unaware. One emotional way of looking at it, there is another way of looking at it. My parents are not the kind of people who do things like that. My problem is not that they are the parents of Manu Sharma, you cannot blame them entirely for the child you have. They were paying the money. They were buying off . paying for all the buy off. Manipulating.
Get him the best lawyer and let the law takes its course. It’s a question of drawing a line. That’s the problem I have with them.


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