A special court on Monday sentenced Sajjad Pathan, 24, convicted of killing lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha in 2012, to life in prison till his natural death.
Pathan who was a security guard at Himalayan Heights in Wadala where Purkayastha, 25, stayed with her boyfriend was spared the capital punishment as special judge Vrushali Joshi observed the case did not fall in the rarest of rare category.
Last week, Pathan was held guilty of trespassing on Purkayastha's property, molesting and killing her.
Her parents Atanu and Sumita expressed anguish over the verdict and said they would move the high court against the order. "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?" asked Atanu, an IAS officer who was a joint secretary in the agriculture ministry at the time of the incident.
"If India is a free country, it doesn't mean that anyone has the right to do anything. The savior in the case became a predator and killed my daughter. Definitely we will move the high court," Sumita said.
After hearing the verdict, Pathan requested the court to reduce his sentence. The judge said: "I am giving you the minimum punishment, while the section provides for capital punishment as the maximum sentence."
Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam termed the judgement a "strong order". "There was no direct evidence in the case and it was entirely based on circumstantial evidence," he said.
Pathan who is from J&K killed Purkayastha on the night of August 9, 2012 when she resisted his advances. She was alone in her flat.