Speaking to a private news channel here, Patel said he did not "believe" Tak's claim that Laila, her mother Saleena Begum, siblings Zara, Imran, cousin Reshma and a domestic help were allegedly killed and their bodies disposed of somewhere around Mumbai in February 2011.
Patel was responding to revelations Tak made before Jammu and Kashmir Police, which provided vital leads in her missing case. Tak, who married Saleena Begum after she divorced her husband Nadir Shah Patel, was arrested last month in Kishtwar, about 230 km from Jammu. He is suspected to be a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant.
Patel said if what Tak claims was true, the Mumbai police should register a first information report and investigate the case. The Mumbai police denied any knowledge on the alleged murders, though a team was likely to leave for Jammu soon for further investigation. Last month, a police team went to Jammu to probe the case which has strong Mumbai and Maharashtra connections.
Patel said Tak and his partner Asif Sheikh came regularly to their Santacruz home and he always felt uneasy in their presence. "I always used to caution my family members to beware of them, I found their behaviour suspicious, but they did not heed to me," Patel said. He admitted that the Tak-Sheikh duo was planning to dupe him in some property matters as Tak was found with a fake PAN card bearing his name (Patel's) name.
Referring to a mysterious fire a few months ago which partly damaged their bungalow in Igatpuri, a hill-station in Maharashtra's Nashik district, around 130 km from Mumbai, Patel contended that there could a link between Laila and her family's disappearance and the fire, but declined to elaborate. Mumbai police Crime Branch Tuesday registered a kidnapping case against Tak. Patel said he was called by police for that.
Laila, whose original name is Reshma Patel, was last seen in a Hindi movie "Wafaa" with Rajesh Khanna in 2008. According to sources, the Mumbai police found Laila to have questionable connections, which allegedly led to her disappearance from Mumbai in 2011. After tracking her mobile phone, her last call records showed her to be at her farm house in Igatpuri.
Sources claimed that Laila was close to suspected Lashkar militant Tak through a Bangladesh-based suspected terrorist Munir Khan, whom she allegedly married. Jammu and Kashmir's Deputy Inspector General of Police Gareeb Das said that Tak, who said sharpshooters had been hired to kill Laila and her family, had been cooperating with interrogators and gradually revealing information on the case.