Srinagar/Mumbai: Security guard Sajjad Mughal, who was convicted for killing 25-year-old city-based lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha, was Monday spared the noose and sentenced to life imprisonment 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 said pronouncing the quantum of punishment.
The court also handed over different punishments to 22-year-old Mughal for molestation and criminal trespass.
Mughal, a resident of Uri area of Kashmir, 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 told PTI.
He said the judgement means that Mughal will be required to serve rigorous imprisonment till the remainder of his life.
Mughal, who belonged to Jammu and Kashmir, killed Pallavi on the night of August 9, 2012 when she was alone at her flat in suburban Wadala, after he made advances at her which she resisted.
Meanwhile, Sajjad’s family alleged that he had been implicated in a false case.
“My son has been framed. He has not committed any murder,” Sajjad’s mother Syeda Begum said.
Sajad’s father, Abdul Aziz, said that his son had been framed because he was a Kashmiri.
“We’ll file an appeal in the High Court. I don’t have money to feed my family but I can’t let my innocent son rot behind the bars for a crime he didn’t commit,” he added.