'Established In Evidence That Dead Bodies Of Victims Were Recovered From Place Pointed Out By Accused': Court's Reasoning In Starlet Laila Khan And Family Murder Case

'Established In Evidence That Dead Bodies Of Victims Were Recovered From Place Pointed Out By Accused': Court's Reasoning In Starlet Laila Khan And Family Murder Case

The court said it is further improbable that for the said motive a person would suddenly go to the extent of taking lives without making any attempt to convince by using other means.

Charul Shah JoshiUpdated: Saturday, May 25, 2024, 01:11 AM IST
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Deceased actress Laila Khan | | X

In the case of murder of starlet Laila Khan, her mother and four siblings in 2011, her step-father Parvez Tak’s false statement about the family’s disappearance and his total denial became one of the key reasons for the court to hold him guilty.

Sessions judge SB Pawar observed that Tak did not offer any explanation that he knew about the place of concealment of the dead bodies. “Moreover, his failure to explain as to what happened to the victims – as he was last seen in their company when they were alive – indicates his complicity. Therefore, the defence of total denial and the false statement is a link to support the case of the prosecution,” the special court said while handing out the death sentence to Tak.

The court held that Tak resided with the family of Shelina Patel (Laila’s mother) and other victims for a considerable period as a family member. Though his marriage with Shelina is not established, he had a relationship with her and he accompanied the family not only to their flat at Sunshine Apartment, Oshiwara, but also stayed with Shelina and her children at their bungalow at Igatpuri, the court observed, adding that he also introduced the absconding accused Shakir Wani to Shelina and hired him as a watchman at the farmhouse in Igatpuri.

The court said that the prosecution proved that early in the morning on February 8, 2011, the family proceeded to Igatpuri in their two cars, Scorpio and Outlander, and were last seen alive with Tak. A day later, Tak took both the vehicles to Jammu with cats and kittens from the farmhouse, giving neighbours false information that the family had gone to Kashmir for a wedding. 

The court said all the circumstances “form a complete chain, which unerringly points towards the accused to infer that in all human probability he must have committed murders of all the victims and must have buried the bodies in the premises of the bungalow to conceal the offence”.

When Tak was arrested almost 17 months later, he confessed to his involvement. While his custody was handed over to Mumbai police, he was also probed for alleged links with a terror organisation. During questioning, he admitted to mass murders and burying the bodies in a pit “probably dug to construct a swimming pool”. When dug out, the skulls of victims were found to have major fractures; that of Laila’s brother Imran was broken into eight pieces. 

Accepting the prosecution case that the victims were hit with a hard object, the court held that such fractures are possible with heavy impact by a hard and blunt object, and it’s improbable that such injuries can be inflicted after death.

The court, however, refused to accept the prosecution case about the motive. The prosecution had claimed that Tak wanted to earn money by compelling Shelina’s daughters to take up prostitution in Dubai. To prove the motive, the prosecution had relied on the evidence of Shelina’s former husband Asif Shaikh.

The court said it is further improbable that for the said motive a person would suddenly go to the extent of taking lives without making any attempt to convince by using other means.

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