The 25-year-old lawyer who was found dead in her flat in an upscale colony of central Mumbai on Thursday morning was murdered by the security guard of the building in which she put up, said police on Friday.
A file photo of Pallavi Purkayastha.
When it became clear that the assailant had not forced into Pallavi Purkayastha’s flat in the Himalayan Heights building at Wadala, all suspicion fell on Sajjad Ahmad Moghul.
Moghul, 22, originally from Jammu and Kashmir, has been a security guard at Himalayan Heights for the last two years.
Purkayastha, who worked as a legal advisor with filmmaker Farhan Akhtar's firm returned home at 11pm. When she found there was no electricity, she texted her live-in partner Avik Sengupta, who advised her to call an electrician.
The electricians, accompanied by Moghul, came, fixed the problem and left. Around 1am, the power tripped again, and once again she called them. “Even this time, Moghul was present in the flat. He stole the keys to the flat,” police said.
Police suspect it was Moghul who tampered with the electric meter both times.
“Moghul said he was aware that Purkayastha was alone and Sengupta was working till late,” police said. The intercom of the flat was not working and neither were the 4 CCTV cameras in the building.
At around 1.30am, Moghul entered the flat using the stolen keys and tried to force himself on Purkayastha. When she put up a fight, he panicked, slit her throat and fled the scene.
The police arrested him at the Mumbai Central station.
Investigations have revealed that none of the neighbours had heard Purkayastha’s screams. Police clarified that the bloodied marks on the neighbour's doorbell belonged to Sengupta, who sought help after he found Purkayastha dead.
Cops to seek death sentence
Describing the murder of Pallavi Purkhayastha as a “heinous kind of perversion”, joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy said they will be asking for a death sentence for the accused Sajjad Moghul as the crime “deserves nothing but death sentence.”
He added that they would ask for the case to be tried in a fast track court so the accused could be brought to book at the earliest. The police would send the strands of hair found in Pallavi’s hand to the Forensic Science Laboratory for a DNA match.
Security firm under scanner
On Thursday, when the crime branch was frantically looking out for Sajjad Moghul — the suspected killer of Pallavi Purkhayastha — they were in for a shock when Ahmed Hamid Enterprises, the private security agency that had hired Moghul told them that they did not have his complete address.
Joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy said, “The security agency’s paperwork on Moghul mentioned his native place address as Lal Chowk, Srinagar. It did not have any specifics, using which we could track him down.” Roy added they were checking if they could book the agency.