Laila Khan’s farmhouse at Igatpuri in Nashik on Wednesday. (PTI)
Mumbai, July 11: Six skeletons were dug out at Laila Khan’s farmhouse near Nashik today, leading investigators to suspect that they were the remains of the missing starlet and her family members.
Laila, 30, her mother Saleena and siblings were killed by her stepfather Parvez Tak and buried there in February last year, police said, claiming the suspect had confessed to the crime.
Parvez, who claims to be Saleena’s third husband and led the cops to the farmhouse in Igatpuri, carried out the murders after a party on the night of February 8, mainly because he resented the continued proximity of Saleena and the others to her second husband, police said.
Parvez was also upset with a family decision to relocate to Dubai leaving him behind and feared he would be abandoned, the police added.
Another possible reason was property. The police said Saleena had given Asif Sheikh, her second husband, the power of attorney to her houses and this had angered Parvez, a 29-year-old contractor from Jammu’s Kishtwar who had met the 52-year-old Salina a few years ago and married her.
“Tak (Parvez) did not like that Sheikh was still maintaining contact with the family. He did not like that the family trusted Sheikh so much. The family’s decision to relocate to Dubai also made him feel abandoned as he did not have a passport,” Mumbai police joint commissioner (crime) Himanshu Roy said.
A DNA test will be conducted on the skeletons and the findings matched with the samples of Nadir Patel, Laila’s father and Saleena’s first husband based in Mumbai. Patel had refused to believe Parvez’s claim last week that the starlet had been killed and said she would come back.
The skeletons — also suspected to include those of Laila’s sisters Zara, 25, and Azmina 32, brother Imran, 25, and cousin Reshma Khan, 19 — were found in a six-feet pit along with blood-soaked mattresses, pillows and a knife the investigators believe was used in the murders.
Gold rings, an iron rod and another knife were found in the farmhouse, which was partially burnt possibly to destroy evidence by Parvez and his accomplice Shakir Hussain, the police said.
Shakir, still on the run, is also from Kishtwar and had been appointed watchman by Parvez at the farmhouse two months before the incident, the police added.
“Parvez hit her (Saleena) with a blunt object, causing her death. Later, both murdered the rest of the family. The skeletons have severe injury marks,” Roy said. The only male body, suspected to be of Imran, has deep injuries that suggest he was struck with heavy objects before being killed, Roy added.
But the officer suggested the motives were still being investigated and some, such as the plan to shift to Dubai, would have to be cross-checked.
“It is possible that he (Parvez) is using this as a defence to show the murder was not pre-meditated,” Roy said, adding that the suspect would need to be interrogated further.