The only point of agreement between the trial judge and the High court in the Priyadarshini Mattoo was that the police under the influence of Santosh’s father, JP Singh an IPS officer, had manipulated the probe in the initial stage to help the accused.
However, though the trial judge GP Thareja had passed severe strictures against the CBI, the High Court has more or less given the agency a clean chit.
A Division Bench Bench comprising of Justices PK Bhasin and RS Sodhi said the very fact that police inspector Lalit Mohan, who was initially the IO in the case, did not record the statement of key witness and neighbour Kuppuswamy on the date of occurrence and waited for ten days had given way to presumption that he was tutored.
"This is indicative of the softness shown by brothers in uniform," the court said.
Lalit Mohan had also kept with him the vaginal swabs, semen and blood of the deceased and the accused collected from the scene of occurrence for four days without handing it over to the hospital. The defence utilized this to allege tampering of the samples to frame Santosh.
Another aspect which drew the court’s attention is the conduct of the local police to the repeated complaints made by the deceased regarding the misbehaviour and harassment of the accused.
“None of the police officers to whom such complaints were made had reacted as was expected of them. Obviously at every stage they had in their mind that the accused was the son of their superior officer. During the hearing the court had told the police: “The girl died because of you. Not because of the boy. You have encouraged the boy. If you had acted on time, she would have been alive now”.
The Bench observed that the trial judge had in his judgement referred to the influence of the father of the accused and certain officers had been unfair in order to save Santosh.
Thareja had faulted the CBI on several counts, including for not following "official procedure" in the DNA tests, keeping away from the court evidence collected by it, fabricating documentary evidence on behalf of the accused; "fabricating DNA technology"; and keeping away the fingerprint report from the court, thus depriving the court of an opportunity to review it judicially. But the High Court was silent on all these.