The trial in the 2012 murder of lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha at a Wadala highrise, which shattered Mumbai's image of being a safe city, ended on Monday, with the sessions court holding the accused, then a watchman at the victim's building, guilty. The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence on July 3. The maximum punishment in the case attracts the death penalty.
The special court presided by Judge Vrushali Joshi held that the prosecution was was successful in proving the case against accused Sajjad Pathan beyond reasonable doubts and thus all charges levelled against him had been proved.
The court informed Pathan, now 26, him about the verdict. "The court has found you guilty under section 302 (murder), 354 (assault or criminal force to a woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and section 449 (house trespass with an intention to commit an offence) of the Indian Penal Code," said the judge.
In a squeaky voice, the Kashmir resident said that he had been falsely implicated in the case to which the court asked him to take up the matter with his advocate.
Demanding the death penalty for Pathan, Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said, "The charges which were proved against the accused either attract life imprisonment or death penalty. As per a Supreme Court verdict, there is a provision to hear the accused in order to revive himself from the shock of accusation and thus we feel that the defence should be given time to prepare on the same."
Speaking to dna, Nikam said the police completed the probe in a prompt manner. "The entire case was based on circumstantial evidence as there was no direct witness. The prosecution gathered clinching evidence against the accused in the form of DNA reports and extra-judicial evidence."
Advocate Nikam also praised the police for acting on the case immediately. "Immediately after the incident, the accused was about to flee to his hometown in Jammu & Kashmir. However, the police acted fast and nabbed," added Nikam.
According to the prosecution, Pathan, working at Himalayan Heights society, was arrested by the police for trying to rape and killing Pallavi on August 9, 2012. Pallavi was residing in a 16th floor apartment with her live-in partner Avik Sengupta. A year after the incident, Sengupta too succumbed to some brain illness.