Since the Mumbai police recovered the skeletons of starlet Laila Khan and her family from an Igatpuri farmhouse over five months ago, her father Nadir Shah Patel has been waiting to be given his daughter’s remains so he can perform the last rites, which are, as he said, “very important in my religion”.
Patel alleged that he has been importunately asking the crime branch for his kin’s remains, but the officers “only give me false promises and turn me away”.
Laila Khan, her mother Saleena and her siblings were murdered and buried by Saleena’s third husband Parvez Tak, as he later confessed, in a plush farmhouse in Igatpuri last year. The police found their skeletons in July, and are yet to give them to Patel. Patel said main accused Parvez Tak was arrested by the Jammu & Kashmir police, the investigating authority in the case. The Mumbai crime branch only had Tak’s custody. The police have not yet arrested co-accused Shakir Hussain Wani, a watchman at the farmhouse and a close friend of Tak’s, who allegedly helped him in the murder.
Speaking to MiD DAY, a distraught Patel said, “I have gone several times to the crime branch office. I have written several letters to them and called them up many times. But they are not giving me any response. They keep saying they will hand over the bodies in a day or two, but those two days are never over.”
He continued, “I want to perform the last rites of my daughter and my family members. It is very important in our religion. It’s been over five months now since they found the bodies. They should hand them over.” A senior crime branch police officer (unit VIII) said, “We got the DNA reports just a month ago. We are discussing the matter with our seniors. Other allegations made by Patel are baseless.”
In July, 2012 the Mumbai Crime Branch recovered six skeletons from Laila Khan’s farmhouse in Igatpuri near Nashik. Khan (30), her mother Saleena (50), brother Imran (25) sisters Zara (25) and Azmina (32), and cousin Reshma, were murdered by Saleena’s third husband Parvez Tak in February, 2012. As per the police, he did not approve of their liberal lifestyle and was enraged that the family had plans to move to Dubai without him. He also suspected Saleena of having an affair with her second husband Asif Sheikh, with whom the family had entrusted their property, making him even more envious.
Three months prior to the murder, Tak brought in his long-time associate from Kishtwar in Kashmir, Shakir Hussain Wani, and made him the watchman at the farmhouse. After murdering the family, the duo dumped the bodies in a trench. Cops said the pit, which was 12x8x6 ft, had been dug up prior to the slaughter on the pretext of renovation, implying that the murder was planned. The watchman Wani is on the run, while Saleena’s second husband, Asif Sheikh, still remains a suspect in the case.