Twelve days after convicting Santosh Kumar Singh for raping and murdering Priyadarshini Mattoo on January 23, 1996, the Delhi High Court will on Monday hear arguments on the quantum of his sentence.
Holding Singh guilty for the offence on October 17, a division bench of Justices R S Sodhi and PK Bhasin fixed October 30 for hearing arguments from both sides on the quantum of sentence.
Following a submission made by the CBI for stringent punishment for Singh, the bench hinted that it would award Singh either capital punishment or life imprisonment for committing the grisly murder nearly 11 years ago.
Setting aside a lower court's order acquitting Singh, the bench said, "The trial court, however, quite amazingly after holding almost all crucial circumstances in favour of the prosecution, has ordered unmerited acquittal of the respondent (Singh) by taking a perverse approach in the matter.
"Despite being convinced that there was no doubt in the prosecution case (at least for murder), the trial court has mauled justice, its decision has shocked the judicial conscience of this court," the bench observed.
Rejecting the submission made by Singh's counsel that the blood sample of the accused, taken for a DNA test, was tampered with by the CBI, the bench said, "We find no evidence to show that there was any tampering with the blood sample sent to the laboratory for the test. There is nothing on record to show that the seals on the sample were ever tampered with."
"From an overall analysis of the circumstances that had been discussed, we are of the view that those circumstances form a chain so complete which leads us to the only conclusion that it is Santosh Kumar Singh who had committed rape of Mattoo and then murdered her," the bench said.