Sajjad Mughal, the watchman who jumped parole after his release from Nashik jail while he was serving life term for the murder of lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha, had applied for extension after his one-month parole got over in March but his plea was rejected, claims police from his native Uri in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Uri Station House Officer (SHO) Gulam Mohammed also said that Mughal was in Mumbai after his release and had applied for extension from there.
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“He neither got in touch with family back in Jammu and Kashmir nor did he call them at any point. That is what the family is claiming now,” said Mohammed.
It is learnt that Nashik divisional commissioner Eknath Dawle had acted and granted Mughal the reprieve on the recommendations of the jail superintendent on February 24. And going by the statement of the SHO, Mughal jumped parole in the month of March, and has been absconding ever since.
Putting the onus on the Nashik jail authorities, Mohammed said it was their prerogative to have him handed over to his family. “The procedure demands to hand over the accused to his family. Somebody from Mumbai had made the parole plea for him. And after his release, he was in Mumbai. Sajjad’s brother and father had stood as sureties and my predecessor here had given his consent as parole is the responsibility of the prison. If they felt they should not have granted (parole)…,” he told The Indian Express, speaking from Uri.
Taufiq Ahmed Mughal, the convict’s father, and his brother Abdul Aziz Mughal stood as the two sureties for his release. However, when Mohammed interrogated Abdul and their mother, they claimed Mughal never got home. “We called the mother and brother for questioning. They confirmed having sent an affidavit (consent of standing sureties) to the Nashik jail authorities for consideration,” he said.
It was an acquaintance of Mughal’s in Mumbai, informed Mohammed, who sought parole on his behalf.
The jail authorities, however, shifted the blame on Uri police for giving a “positive” report on Mughal. “Following procedure, we sent an application to Uri police seeking replies on four points before granting parole. They replied conforming mother’s illness, his father and brother being the two sureties – which became the basis of us granting parole. If they would not have given a positive report, then he would not have got parole,” said an official from Nashik jail.
Meanwhile, Mohammed assured of a manhunt being launched. “We are following it up and have already questioned two other people apart from his family members. But they have denied any contact,” he said.
The court had held Mughal guilty under Sections 302 (murder), 354 (assaulting a woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 449 (house-trespass in order to commit offence punishable with death) of the Indian Penal Code.
Pallavi’s father Atanu Purkayastha, an IAS officer, said, “We are very very upset to say the least. We only pray that Mumbai police is lucky again to nab him and undo what the divisional commissioner and the Jail superintendent has done.”