I was not aware that she is Ejaz Lakdawala's daughter, says son-in-law

Updated: Jan 14, 2020, 08:07 IST | Faizan Khan | Mumbai

With Crime Branch naming gangster's daughter Shifa in extortion racket from 2005, her lawyer says she was 8 years old at the time

Ejaz Lakdawala's daughter, outside the Esplanade court. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Ejaz Lakdawala's daughter, outside the Esplanade court. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Gangster Ejaz Lakdawala's son-in-law, Shahid Shaikh, has claimed that the police framed his wife, Shifa alias Sonia Manish Advani, to get to her father, who was wanted for two decades. In their remand application, the cops have claimed that they suspect Shifa's involvement in the extortion racket that terrorised the city from 2005.

Interestingly, her lawyer has pointed out that she was only eight years old that year. Defence lawyer D S Manekar has alleged that his client has been made a scapegoat just to get her father arrested. Arguing in court on January 6, Manekar said, "The police filed a case against her for making extortion calls to a Bandra-based builder. The builder was getting threat calls for ransom since 2005 from Lakdawala, when my client was just seven to eight years old. How can a child of her age be involved in an extortion racket?"

Sonia Advani converted to Islam and changed her name to Shifa Shahid Shaikh
Sonia Advani converted to Islam and changed her name to Shifa Shahid Shaikh

Speaking to mid-day, Manekar said, "The police wanted to arrest Ejaz Lakdawala anyhow, and framed my client in a false case just to take undue advantage of her since she has a child. They thought that Lakdawala would melt and surrender if his daughter lands in trouble."

Husband was unaware
Shifa's husband, businessman Shahid Shaikh, said he wasn't aware she was the gangster's daughter.

"Two-and-a-half years back, I met her at Ajmer Shareef in Rajasthan, she introduced herself to me as Sonia. We fell in love and got married in January 2018. She converted into Islam and changed her name to Shifa Shahid Sheikh. I was not aware that she is Ejaz Lakdawala's daughter, six months after marriage, my father came to know about it. When he asked me, I confronted Shifa and only then she revealed this."

Ejaz Lakdawala
Ejaz Lakdawala

"She was never involved in any criminal activity. She and our child (born on December 14, 2018) should not suffer because of her father's criminal record. First the police arrested her in a fake passport case while she was travelling to Nepal and once they found that the passport was genuine and obtained with genuine documents, they booked her in a false extortion case to get her custody," he added.

The Mumbai crime branch initially arrested Shifa from the airport on December 28 when they claimed she was fleeing to Nepal. She was arrested again on January 6 in an extortion case filed by a Bandra-based builder.

Shifa Shahid Shaikh
Shifa Shahid Shaikh

'FIR lodged on suspicion'
DCP detection of Mumbai Crime Branch Shahaji Umap has said, "She was arrested based on suspicion, further investigations are underway."

The crime branch in the remand application has mentioned that it was necessary to investigate her role to find whether she was involved in an extortion racket run by her father.

The crime branch also said that they want to investigate how she was in touch with the gangster. According to the remand application, Shifa has used various identities such as Shifa Shahid Shaikh alias Sonia Manish Advani, alias Sonia Ejaz Lakdawala, alias Sonia Chaudhary, alias Sonia Menon, alias Aabida. Manish Advani is one of the many names Lakdawala used to hide his identity until he was arrested. The crime branch has recovered a wedding invitation card in which she has been named Shifa Menon, daughter of Yusuf Menon.

"For the past six months the crime branch has been asking us about my daughter-in-law's details. We have produced all the documents, including her birth certificate from Bhabha hospital where she was born on May 4, 1997.

"Her name on the birth certificate is Sonia Manish Shyam Advani. She married my son on January 23, 2018 and changed her name to Shifa Shahid Shaikh as mentioned in the Nikahnama," said her father-in-law Sahifique Shaikh. According to her in laws, she stayed with her grandparents for few years and then went to Nepal.

Shifa was produced before the Killa court on Monday, where the prosecution asked for her further custody to confront her with Lakdawala.

However, the court has refused and sent her to judicial custody till January 22. Manekar then moved a bail application saying her bail should be heard immediately as she has a child. The court agreed to hear both bail applications (fake passport and extortion case) on January 15.

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