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  • Pallavi murder not rarest of rare, rules court; Mughal gets life

    Published on July 7, 2014

    Security guard Sajjad Mughal, who was convicted for killing 25-year-old city-based lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha, was spared the noose and sentenced to life pallavi murder case newimprisonment after a local court observed that the crime did not fall under the ‘rarest of rare’ category.

    “Considering the mitigating and aggravating circumstances, I am of the opinion that the case does not fall under the ‘rarest of the rare’ category,” Sessions Judge Vrushali Joshi on Monday said pronouncing the quantum of punishment.

    The court also handed over different punishments to 22-year-old Mughal for molestation and criminal trespass.

    Mughal was in tears when the verdict was delivered. He requested the court to give him minimum sentence.

    To this, the judge said, “I am giving you the minimum punishment, while the section provides for capital punishment as the maximum sentence.”

    However, Pallavi’s father Atanu Purkayastha expressed disappointment over the sentencing.

    “My daughter was a strong girl and put up a brave fight, even as she was stabbed 16 times. If this is not the rarest of the rare case, then which one is ?” he told reporters later.

    While her mother Sumita expressed anguish on the lifer and said that they will decide on their future course of action soon.

    Special Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam dubbed the judgement as a ‘strong order’.

    “There was no direct evidence in the case and it was entirely based on circumstantial evidence”, Nikam said on Monday.

    He said the judgement means that Mughal will be required to serve rigorous imprisonment till the remainder of his life.

    “We demanded death as the crime was committed after previous planning and brutally executed by slitting her throat,” said Nikam adding the court might have considered his young age while awarding the minimum sentence.

    Nikam also said that if after going through the order copy, the prosecution feels that there is any scope of fetching capital punishment for the accused, then they will move the Bombay High Court.

    Mughal, who belonged to Jammu and Kashmir, killed Pallavi on the night of 9th August 2012 when she was alone at her flat in suburban Wadala, after he made advances at her which she resisted.

    Defense lawyer Abdul Wahab Khan said they will go in for an appeal. “I feel that the court has not considered my arguments properly and hence I will go for an appeal, Khan said. He said that Mughal was not satisfied with the judgement.

    Prosecution has examined 40 witnesses while the defence examined three in the case.

     

    The Crime Branch had filed a 434-page charge sheet on 30th October 2012 against Mughal charging him with trespass and murder.

    Earlier, the prosecution had submitted a draft charge against Mughal, accused of murdering the law graduate, who was also an advisor to filmmaker Farhan Akhtar’s firm Excel Entertainment, accusing him of attempting to rape.

    However, Mughal refuted all the allegations and his lawyer Wahab Khan had argued that it was Pallavi’s fiancee Avik Sengupta who killed her in their flat.

    Police had claimed that Mughal, a native of Jammu and Kashmir, used to ogle at the young lawyer, the daughter of IAS officer Atanu Purkayastha, who was the joint secretary in the Agriculture Ministry at the Centre when the incident took place.

    In his statement to police, Mughal had said that he sneaked into Pallavi’s flat on 9th August using a set of duplicate keys and tried to force himself upon her.

    “However, when I forced myself upon her, she resisted and started screaming and at this time I assaulted her with my knife that I was carrying,” Mughal had said in his statement.

    More than a year after Pallavi was murdered, her fiance Avik Sengupta (28) died of brain hemorrhage in November 2013, when the trial was still on in the case.

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