IN THE unusually crowded Court No. 35 of the Delhi High Court, all attention focused on a lanky man in a white shirt and black trousers who walked in quietly at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. The main accused in the Priyadarshini Mattoo case, Santosh Kumar Singh, who was let off by a trial court in 1999, took the seat behind his defence lawyer.
This time, though, it was a different verdict for Santosh. As Justice R.S. Sodhi pronounced him guilty of raping and murdering Priyadarshini in 1996, he blanched and clenched his fists. The court asked him how soon his sentence — death or life imprisonment — should be pronounced. On the defence counsel's plea, it was deferred to October 30. Santosh's father, former police officer J.P. Singh, walked into the court only after the verdict was given. Santosh turned to him and him, "It's all right." Singh later said, "We will examine the legal options before us."
Santosh handed over his wallet, cellphone, belt and some papers to his brother as officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation came to take him away to Tihar jail.