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Santosh Singh shell-shocked: Tihar officials

Santosh Kumar did not eat on Monday night or Tuesday morning, said the Tihar jail officials.

india Updated: Oct 31, 2006 16:41 IST

Santosh Kumar Singh, sentenced to death for raping and murdering fellow student Priyadarshani Mattoo in 1996, is "absolutely depressed" and has not eaten since he heard the verdict, Tihar jail officials said on Tuesday.

Santosh Kumar, who had been practising as a lawyer and is the son of a retired senior Delhi Police official, is now lodged in Jail-II, specially meant for convicts. He did not sleep well on Monday night after the court delivered its verdict that he would "hang till death", said a top prison official.

"He is shell-shocked and is not talking freely. We have counselled him but, looking at the magnitude of punishment, it will be difficult to bring cheer to him," he said.

Santosh Kumar did not eat on Monday night or Tuesday morning. "He was given dal, roti and vegetables on Monday night and tea and bread on Tuesday morning," the official said.

He ruled out the possibility of Santosh Kumar being kept in isolation.

"He has a chance to appeal to the Supreme Court; there is no question of shifting him to an isolation ward."

Santosh Kumar is among 10 prisoners in Tihar awaiting capital punishment. The list includes Mohammed Afzal, sentenced to death on September 26 for his role in the 2001 terror attack on Parliament.

Mattoo, a law student at the Law Centre of Delhi University, was killed on the evening of Jan 23, 1996, at her residence in Vasant Kunj in southwest Delhi.

The death sentence for Santosh Kumar, who had stalked her for two years, came more than 10 years after the incident. A lower court had acquitted him in 1999 on grounds of lack of evidence.

The court had on October 17 termed the lower court judgment acquitting Santosh Kumar as perverse and held that both charges of rape and murder had been proved. He was put behind bars the same day.

First Published: Oct 31, 2006 01:36 IST