Campus Law Centre head Rajeev Khanna, who taught Priyardarshini Mattoo, wants a more harsher punishment for Santosh Kumar Singh, the man he had long believed killed one of his brightest students.
"It is a pity that there is no higher punishment in our law. He should have been made to serve time and then hung like they do in some countries."
Khanna also highlighted a shocking fact that Singh, in fact, used his connections at the Law Faculty to harass and blackmail Mattoo before raping and killing her brutally.
"Neither the police, nor the CBI investigated how Singh, who was the son of a senior IPS officer, used his connections at the Law Faculty to blackmail Mattoo. She had appeared for a final year MCom paper as an ex-student, while enrolled as an LLB student.
Singh got to know this and bore upon the faculty and university authorities to issue a showcause notice to Mattoo. He tried to use this notice for pressuring Mattoo to accept his advances," claimed Khanna, who was then a reader in the same department.
"Mattoo was asked to reply in writing why her name should not be struck off the list at Law Faculty. This was surprising, as everyone in the university knows that one can appear for a paper as an ex-student, while enrolled for another course. Mattoo met all the requirements for enrolling for the law course," said Khanna.
Khanna had taught both Mattoo and Singh who were in different years. He remembers Mattoo as a "very bright and intelligent girl". "She was one of the best, but also a respectful and humble student. The death penalty was expected," he said.
Lawyers and students at the Law Faculty feel that the order will serve as a deterrent for such crimes. "I am very happy with the order. This should act as a deterrent for people who even dream of committing such acts," said Samhita Sen Sharma, a second year LLB student at the Campus Law Centre. Sharma says the Mattoo case has been a point of discussion at the Law Faculty for the past several days.
"We have all been discussing whether he should get death or a life term," said Sharma. In fact, a similar discussion has been raging even among former Law Faculty students.
Amit Bhagat, an ex-student of the Law Faculty, says that the death penalty was long overdue. "I am normally against death penalty, but Singh deserves to be hanged," says Bhagat, a practising lawyer. His batchmate and lawyer, Shimanti Chakrabarti, agrees.
"He killed a young woman in the most gruesome manner possible, breaking her ribs and smashing her face with his helmet after raping her. The fact that he managed to escape the law and get married and have a normal life should not be seen as a reason for letting him off. Justice may get delayed, but not denied," said Chakrabarti.
Email Anuradha Mukherjee: firstname.lastname@example.org