Pallavi Purkayastha murder case: Convict Sajjad Mughal arrested in Srinagar

Pallavi Purkayastha

Pallavi Purkayastha

Mughal, who had earlier jumped parole several times and was untraceable for the last two years was arrested in Jammu and Kashmir by the crime branch of Mumbai Police on the Leh-Srinagar Highway on Tuesday, CNN-News 18 reported.

The police team, which comprised of few officials who had arrested him in the murder case, was in J&K for a week before they managed to nab him with the help of "local sources" they had developed. Mughal was on his way to seek work as a daily wager near Sonmarg.

Pallavi was found in a pool of blood at her rented flat in "Himalayan Heights" building at Wadala in central Mumbai by her live-in partner Avik Sengupta (26), also a lawyer.

Sajjad Mughal was sentenced to life in jail in 2014 for the killing of 25-year-old Pallavi in her 16th floor apartment in central Mumbai. The accused was serving life imprisonment after being convicted in the murder case. It is a remarkable operation conducted in unfamiliar territory. It was easy for him to evade arrest since he was in familiar surroundings and among friends.

"We are investigating about local support, which he must have got at his native place and will take action accordingly", said Sanjay Saxena, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime). Police Inspector Sanjay Nikam, who was heading Unit IV when Mughal was arrested in 2012, was given charge of the squad, which visited J&K three to four times over the previous year. He kept changing names and even changed his looks.

But the biggest hurdle for the crime branch came in the form of the September 2016 attack on Uri, a town in the Baramulla district in Kashmir.

Sajjad's act of jumping his parole forced the Maharashtra government to suspend the jailer of Nashik prison who recommended his parole.

A week before his arrest, Mumbai police team learnt that he was working as an assistant electrician for a tunnel work project in Gagangiri village, about 50-60 kilometres from Srinagar from where he was nabbed by the team and brought to Mumbai by flight. The cops said that he never expected cops will reach to him. "Our disguise seems to have worked well, as Mughal did not recognise me when I approached him", Mr. Nikam said. He added that they first visited J&K around a year ago posing as tourists. The team had visited the state four times but was able to nab him only now.

Atanu Purkayastha, Pallavi's father, said he felt "immensely grateful" to the Mumbai Police for arresting his daughter's killer.

On October 30, 2012, Mumbai police crime branch filed a 434-page charge sheet against Mughal. "One of the sources eventually tipped them off about Mughal".

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