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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Lawyer's murder: Sewri court drops attempt to rape charge

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, February 05, 2013
First Published: 01:53 IST(5/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:55 IST(5/2/2013)

Citing lack of evidence, the Sewri sessions court refused to charge Sajjad Mogul, the main accused in the murder of lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha, for attempt to rape.

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Purkayastha, daughter of an IAS officer who worked as an advisor with filmmaker Farhan Akhtar's firm, was found dead in her apartment at Wadala on August 9, 2012. Mogul, the watchman of the building, was arrested the following day.

According to the prosecution, Mogul wanted to have physical relations with the lawyer. Angered by her refusal, Mogul allegedly raped her and then murdered her.

In their draft charges filed in December, the prosecution had proposed to book Mogul for attempt to rape. The defence had, however, objected to it claiming that there was no evidence to prove it.

In the charges framed last week, the court booked Mogul for murder, using criminal force for molestation and trespassing.

Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said that strong suspicion was enough to frame charges. "There are statements of the witnesses with whom Mogul spoke to about his attempt to rape the lawyer," he said.

"The court has rejected our plea. It observed that though Mogul had the intention to rape the victim, sufficient evidence was not available to invoke the charge of attempt to rape," Nikam said.

Crime branch sources said that there is still hope, as the court has kept the option of adding the charge based on evidence during the trial open.

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