Step father Parvez Tak eliminated Bollywood starlet Laila Khan and five members of her family as he did not like their continuing proximity to her mother’s second husband and the family’s decision to relocate to Dubai made him feel abandoned, police claimed.
The interrogation of Tak, a small-time contractor from Kishtwar in Jammu and Kashmir, unfolded a saga of jealousy, deceit and greed, chief of Mumbai police’s crime branch Himanshu Roy, told reporters in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Tak, the third husband of Laila’s mother Shelina, said he wiped out the entire family due to its continued reliance on Ashif Sheikh, her second husband.
“Tak did not like that Sheikh was still maintaining contact with the family. He did not like that it trusted Sheikh so much. The family’s decision to relocate to Dubai also made him feel abandoned as he did not have a passport,” Roy said.
What further irked Tak was the fact that the family was in the process of disposing of their properties before migrating to Dubai for which Shelina had got ready a Power of Attorney in favour of Sheikh, he said.
On the fateful night of 7th February last year, Tak had a heated argument with Shelina (51) at the family’s farmhouse in Igatpuri near Nashik after which he hit her with a blunt object, causing her death.
As other members of the family–Laila (30), elder sister Azmina (32), twin siblings Zara and Imran (25) and cousin Reshma alias Tulli–came running down from the first floor, Tak called Shakir Hussain Wani, also from Kishtwar, whom he had appointed as watchman two months before the incident, and the two had a scuffle with them.
After neutralising Imran, the only male member of the family present, with powerful blows on his head with an iron rod, the two did others to death. Imran’s skull had grievous injuries.
Maintaining that Tak had himself confessed to the killings and sequence of events, Roy said the crime branch units had recovered six skeletons from a pit at the farmhouse.
The skeletons were covered with blood-soaked mattresses, clothes and stones to ensure they were not pulled out by wild animals. The skulls had severe ante-mortem fractures.
The duo, after murdering the family, used diesel from a generator to set ablaze a portion of the farmhouse to destroy evidence, Roy said.
The family had bought a generator set as the farmhouse did not have an electricity connection.
The Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) said though only forensic and DNA tests would conclusively establish the identity of the victims, the circumstances and the fact that Tak had led the police to the place from where the bodies were recovered “make us reasonably believe that the bodies are of Laila Khan and her family members”.
After committing the crime, Tak, who too had suffered injuries on his head and hand, went to Ghoti, 7-8 kilometres from Igatpuri, where he arranged for drivers from a travel agent, to take the Scorpio and Mitsubishi Outlander SUVs belonging to the family to Jammu.
Before proceeding to Jammu, they cleaned out the family’s flat in Oshiwara in Mumbai, Roy said, adding it was not yet clear what they took away but no valuables were found there.
The family’s Scorpio vehicle with Maharashtra registration was recovered from outside Tak’s office in Jammu on 12th February after which the local police had begun to make inquiries about its ownership.
Roy said though Tak was insisting that he had acted on the spur of the moment after he had a heated argument with Shelina, the police are still ascertaining the truth.
“We are trying to figure out the truth. Whether he acted on the spur of the moment or it was a premeditated murder,” he said, adding Tak may be trying to mislead the probe and dilute the charges against him. He said Tak might have wiped out the entire family to grab the properties.
Roy said, as of now, only Tak and Shakir Hussain Wani were the accused in the case. He, however, said police had not given a clean chit to Asif Sheikh, who too was detained and examined.
“We will make further arrests if needed,” he said. Asked if Tak had any terror links, Roy said,” Following an alert after Delhi blasts, Kashmir police had picked up some people and during that combing operation the vehicle with Maharashtra number plate was found in front of Tak’s office and this aroused suspicion.”
He rubbished reports that a satellite phone had been recovered from Tak. The starlet and her family had gone missing from Mumbai in February 2011.
A case of kidnapping was registered at the Oshiwara police station in Mumbai on 3rd July on a complaint by her biological father Nadir Patel.
According to the complaint, Tak and his alleged accomplice Asif Shaikh had kidnapped Laila and others.