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Saddest day, I will fight on, says Priyadarshini's father

By The Assam Tribune

JAMMU, Oct 6 (IANS) - Retired Kashmiri chief engineer Chaman Lal Mattoo Wednesday felt "completely shattered" by the Supreme Court verdict that commuted the death penalty for his daughter Priyadarshani's killer to life sentence and vowed to "fight the case till his last breath".

It is "the saddest day in my life as the apex court has not done justice to me or my daughter who fell victim to a spoilt brat," Mattoo, who lives here, told IANS referring to Santosh Kumar Singh who killed Priyadarshini in Delhi in 1996.

Santosh, son of a former senior police officer, had been given the death sentence by the Delhi High Court four years ago for raping and murdering Priyadarshini, his junior in Delhi University. It was set aside by an apex court bench headed by Justice H.S. Bedi Wednesday and commuted to life imprisonment.

Mattoo said the Supreme Court should have "upheld the judgment of the Delhi High Court and sent the accused to the gallows".

He hinted that he might file a review petition after consulting legal experts.

"I will not leave the battle for justice for my daughter midway. I will fight the case till my last breath," he said, adding he felt "completely shattered".

The case has been closely watched by people in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the Kashmiri Hindu community. Mattoo is a Kashmiri who retired as chief engineer in the Power Development Department here.

Priyadarshini was killed by Santosh in her uncle's flat in Vasant Kunj in Delhi. She was found dead Jan 23, 1996.

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