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CBI refuses to disclose reasons in Mattoo case

New Delhi: The CBI seems to want to keep under wraps the reasons for not seeking a review of the Supreme Court order in the Priyadarshini Mattoo rape and murder case in which convict Santosh Singh`s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

The agency has refused to disclose the views of officers and legal experts which prompted it to remain contended with the decision despite the victim`s father writing to it to pursue the matter further.

The CBI, in an RTI reply, has said that the disclosure of views of officers and legal experts taken after the Supreme Court order of October 6, 2010 will be "detrimental to life and physical safety of the concerned officers."

Ironically, the CBI also said "no files were generated" after the apex court verdict in the case which could mean it did not take any views of legal experts to file review petition on the issue.

The CBI also feels that the letter received from victim`s father Chaman Lal Mattoo requesting it to pursue the case further and seek death sentence from the Supreme Court cannot be disclosed, as well, citing the same reason that it would be detrimental to the safety of the concerned officers.

The agency said such documents, records and file notings are exempted from disclosure under section 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act and hence cannot be provided.

25-year old Mattoo, who was a Law student at Delhi University, was raped and brutally murdered by Santosh Singh at her Vasant Kunj apartment on January 23, 1996. Singh, who was earlier acquitted by lower court, was sentenced to death by the Delhi High Court.

However, a Bench of the apex court comprising Justices HS Bedi and CK Prasad had commuted the death sentence to life term on October 6, 2010.

The Bench said the mitigating factors in the convict`s favour were his act of marrying after the lower court had acquitted him in the case, his father`s death after his conviction by the High Court, his becoming father of a girl child and the prospect of a dismal future for his young family.

Disappointed by the decision, victim`s father Chaman Lal Mattoo had written to the then CBI chief Ashwani Kumar requesting the investigating agency to seek a review of the verdict but the agency preferred to not file the same.

An RTI applicant had sought to know from the agency – a copy of the letter from Chaman Lal Mattoo, file notings on it, views of legal experts on filing review petition among other details but the CBI refused to provide them.

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