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The Maharashtra government has approached the Bombay High Court seeking death penalty for 24-year-old watchman Sajjad Mugal Pathan, who was convicted for the 2012 murder of lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha.

In July last year, a sessions court had convicted and sentenced Pathan to life imprisonment for committing the murder of Purkayastha.

The trial court refused to hand down the death penalty to Pathan after observing that the case does not fall under the purview of ‘rarest of the rare’.

Pathan, a security guard at the building where Pallavi was staying, was convicted for murder, molestation and criminal trespass.

The state government then approached the high court seeking enhancement of the punishment handed down to Pathan and sought death sentence.

A division bench headed by Justice P V Hardas recently admitted the state’s appeal and has posted it for final hearing.

“We have perused the findings recorded by the trial court. Upon such perusal, we are of the prima facie opinion that this appeal filed by the State seeking enhancement of the sentence deserves to be admitted,” Justice Hardas said.

Purkayastha, daughter of an IAS officer based in Delhi, worked as a legal advisor with actor-director Farhan Akhtar’s firm Excel Entertainment Private Limited. She along with her partner Avik Sengupta lived in a rented flat in suburban Wadala. On August 9, 2012 Purkayastha was found murdered in her flat.

The city police arrested Pathan at the Mumbai Central railway terminus before he could catch a train to Surat from where he had allegedly planned to flee to Jammu and Kashmir, his native.

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