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Pallavi Purkayastha murder: Court finds watchman guilty, will sentence him on July 3

Sessions court convicts Sajjad Mughal, who broke into her apartment in August 2012 and tried to rape her; he slit her throat when she tried to fight him off

The sessions court on Monday convicted 24-year-old Sajjad Mughal for the murder accused of lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha. Mughal was the security guard of Himalayan Heights, Wadala, where Pallavi resided. He had broken into her Wadala apartment and tried raping her. When she resisted, Mughal slit her throat with a knife.

The parents of Pallavi Purkayastha outside the Sessions court yesterday
The parents of Pallavi Purkayastha outside the Sessions court yesterday

During court proceedings of the case, the prosecution examined 40 witnesses while the defence examined three. Mughal was found guilty of the charges, and the court will decide the quantum of punishment on July 3.

Sajjad Mughal (24) will be read out the quantum of punishment on July 3
Sajjad Mughal (24) will be read out the quantum of punishment on July 3

When mid-day contacted Pallavi’s family, her father Atanu, who is a joint secretary in the agriculture ministry, said, “We are very much satisfied with the investigation part and awaiting the punishment. Since the murder of my daughter, the accused has destroyed two families ours and my daughter’s fiancé Avik Sengupta’s, with whom she resided.”

Asked about the punishment they wish the court to announce, her mother Sumita, director general with the ministry of telecommunication, said, “We expect the maximum punishment to be given to the security guard, and we would accept nothing below death sentence for Mughal, since two years two families are living in hell as I have lost my daughter and would be son-in law. The death sentence would set an example in cases of crimes against woman, which are on the rise.”

Her parents were full of appreciation with the way the cops have handled the case, as the accused was arrested within 12 hours of the crime from Mumbai Central. Investigating officer Mahesh Tavde from Crime Branch Unit IV said, “We have made the paperwork as strong as we could.

We filed a 434-page chargesheet in October 2012 and have booked Mughal under relevant the sections, for trespassing, molestation and murder, and also under Arms Act. We would ask for a death sentence for the accused.”

Defence says
Defence lawyer Wahab Khan, who was witnessed arguing that it was Avik Sengupta who killed Pallavi, said, “The judgment didn’t come in our favour. Now we are waiting for the punishment to be declared, after which we will see what is to be done.” Asked whether they would be approaching the high court after the quantum, he said, “We will see after the punishment is declared.”

The case
Pallavi Purkayastha, a law graduate who was working as an advisor to filmmaker Farhan Akhtar’s firm Excel Entertainment, was murdered by her building watchman in the wee hours of August 9, 2012.

On the day of the incident, she had approached the watchman, Sajjad Mughal, since there was no electricity in her house. Mughal later sneaked inside her house with a duplicate set of keys and tried raping her.

When she resisted, he killed her by slitting her throat. The crime came to light the next morning, when her fiance, Avik Sengupta, returned home and informed the cops. In the month of November 2013, Sengupta died of natural causes.

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