The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its judgment on the plea of Santosh Kumar Singh challenging the verdict of the Delhi High Court convicting and awarding death sentence to him for rape and murder of Delhi University student Priyadarshini Mattoo over 14 years ago.
A Bench comprising Justices H S Bedi and C K Prasad, after hearing the arguments advanced by advocates appearing for Singh and CBI, reserved its verdict.
Singh, son of former senior IPS officer, was acquitted by the trial court on December 3, 1999 but the Delhi high court had on October 27, 2006, reversed that decision by holding him guilty for the offence of rape and murder.
The CBI has sought upholding of the death sentence by saying that the high court had correctly appreciated the evidence leading to his conviction.
Singh, currently lodged in Tihar Jail, has contended the "acquittal by the trial court was correct and proper". Senior advocate Sushil Kumar, appearing for 40-year-old Singh, contended that the high court conviction was not based on the proper appreciation of the evidence on record.
Mattoo, the 23-year-old law student, was found murdered at her south Delhi residence on January 23, 1996.
Justices R S Sodhi (since retired) and P K Bhasin of the High Court, while setting aside the lower court's verdict, had termed it as "perverse" and sentenced Singh to death, saying "he deserved nothing less".
Singh's acquittal by Additional Sessions Judge G P Thareja on December 3, 1999, had sparked an outrage as the judge had said that he knew the accused had committed the crime but gave him the benefit of doubt because of lack of evidence.