A watchman, who was convicted of murdering lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha in 2012 and jumped parole over 18 months ago, was arrested by Mumbai police from Jammu and Kashmir, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Sajjad Ahmad Abdul Aziz Mughal was serving life term in Nashik central jail after he was convicted by a Mumbai court for murdering Purkayastha, daughter of an IAS officer, in her flat at suburban Wadala in Mumbai.
In 2016, he was released on parole after which he was absconding, said police.
“Sajjad was arrested from near Srinagar by a team led by police inspector Sanjay Nikam. The team was on his trail since he absconded in February 2016,” Mumbai Commissioner of Police Datta Padsalgikar told reporters.
Mughal was employed as a watchman at the ‘Himalayan Heights’ building.
Purkayastha was working as an advisor at filmmaker Farhan Akhtar’s firm Excel Entertainment.
“This morning when I got to know about Sajjad’s arrest, the first thing I did was called Pallavi’s father to give him this news. He said that he was waiting for this moment,” said Padsalgikar.
The team had earlier visited Jammu and Kashmir three to four times to nab Sajjad. But, due to the topography of the area it was a tough job, said the commissioner.
As Sajjad’s native place is Salamabad in Uri in Baramulla area, which is close to Pakistan border there were different challenges before the the police team, an official said.
This time a team led by Police Inspector Nikam, Head Constable Dayanand Kamble, Police Naik Sandeep Kamble and Police Constable Sandeep Talekar nabbed him after following up for a week near Srinagar, he said.
After jumping parole a case was registered at Nashik Road Police Station. Now he has been arrested in that case and we will hand him over to Nashik Police tomorrow, the top cop said.
“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).
While on parole he had visited his native place and met his mother and other relatives. After jumping parole he again went to meet them, he said.
“We arrested Sajjad from village Gagangir, which is near Srinagar where he had come to do work on tunnel,” police inspector Sanjay Nikam told PTI.
“We purchased ‘Feran’, a Kashmiri costume, and caps to like locals. Our team was constantly monitoring his activities. But, in his village he had gained sympathy by saying that he was falsely implicated in the murder case,” he said.
“As his native place is close to Pakistani border, our main challenge was to protect our identity and set up our base in Srinagar,” he said.
“We had to wait for a long time for him to come out of Baramulla area so that we could nab him,” said the inspector.