Pallavi Purkayastha murder case: Accused rubbishes rape charge



Mumbai: A 22-year-old watchman, accused for the murder of city-based lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha, on Tuesday rubbished prosecution's charges that he had attempted to rape the victim.

Last month, the prosecution had submitted a draft charge against Sajjad Mughal, accused of murdering Pallavi, who was also an advisor to filmmaker Farhan Akhtar's firm Excel Entertainment, accusing him of attempting to rape.

"Mughal could have gone to Purkayastha's house to commit robbery, but he had no intention of raping her," his advocate Wahab Khan argued.

According to the prosecution, Mughal, a native of Jammu and Kashmir, was employed as a security guard at 'Himalayan Heights' in suburban Wadala and killed Pallavi on August 9 last year for resisting his advances.

Khan argued that there are no supporting witnesses or any material evidence which suggests that Mughal had gone to rape the victim.

Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam contended that they have strong evidences in this regard. "There are statements of two witnesses, who said that Mughal passed lewd comments against her," he said.

Nikam argued that they are relying on the circumstantial evidence to invoke the charge of attempt to rape.

Police had claimed that Mughal used to ogle at the 25-year-old victim, daughter of IAS officer Atanu Purkayastha, the joint secretary in the Agriculture Ministry.

Crime Branch had filed a 434-page charge sheet on October 30 against him under the charges of trespassing and murder.

In his statement to police, Mughal had said that he sneaked into Pallavi's flat on August 9 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 already carrying," Mughal had said in his statement.

The draft charges filed by the prosecution against Mughal are attempt to commit rape, murder and trespass.

PTI