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Mattoo murder: CBI demands death penalty

CBI says it would demand death penalty for Santosh Singh, who is convicted by the Delhi HC for raping and murdering Priyadarshani Mattoo in 1996.

india Updated: Oct 17, 2006 16:41 IST

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said it would demand death penalty for Santosh Kumar Singh, who was on Monday convicted by the Delhi High Court for raping and murdering Delhi university law student Priyadarshani Mattoo in 1996.

"We have taken him into custody. We reiterate our demand for death penalty," remarked CBI director, Vijay Shankar.

"We are grateful for the judgement and it is a benchmark decision for the trial agency," said Shankar. He added that he was confident of the decision of the court, as he was confident of the evidences collected by the agency during investigations in the case.

"The judgement is a show of the strength of CBI's investigation," he added.

Senior officials said that Singh, son of a retired senior Delhi Police official, will be kept in custody till October 30 when the court would hear the prosecution as well as the accused on the quantum of sentence.

Earlier in the day, a division bench of judges RS Sodhi and PK Bhasin termed the lower court judgment acquitting Singh as perverse and held that both charges of rape and murder had been proved by the prosecution.

Singh, who was present in the court, broke down on hearing the judgment and was consoled by his friends. He was taken into custody by the CBI immediately after the verdict was delivered.

The bench said Santosh Kumar was convicted as the prosecution had been able to prove the case by making "an unbroken chain of circumstances pointing to the culpability of the accused".

Mattoo, a 23-year-old law student at the Campus Law Centre of Delhi University, was raped and then strangulated to death on the evening of January 23, 1996 at her residence in Vasant Kunj of South Delhi.

The family of the victim expressed satisfaction about the judgement.

"I am very very pleased to hear the news," Hemant Mattoo, Priyadarshini's brother, told a news channel.

"The judgement is a mixture of surprise and happiness because of the way the lower court had handled the case earlier," he added.

"The investigation agency had all the evidence earlier too but Singh was acquitted," said Hemant Mattoo from New York.