In a case that can only be described as brutal, a sessions court on Friday convicted a couple of killing their teenaged daughter and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The court held Mohammed Munna Khan and Gulnaz Khan guilty of killing Mehnaz Khan and cutting her body into 11 pieces to destroy the evidence. The body parts, stashed in two sacks, were found near the J.J. flyover on July2, 2006.
During the sentencing, the court said it would not give the Khans capital punishment, and were more inclined to make them serve life terms, as they had six more children and such a harsh punishment would have a bad impact on the kids.
A minor daughter of the couple who participated in the crime is being tried separately by a juvenile court.
One of the sacks containing the body parts carried the Ambuja Cement label while the other bore the GNN mark. During investigation, the police learnt the latter was the name of Munna’s pav (bread) shop. The body was then identified.
When the police went to Munna’s house, he reportedly told them the deceased was not his daughter as she had gone to her native place. But he had no answer when the cops asked him to produce her, and was subsequently arrested.
The motive behind the murder: Mehanaz had married a Hindu boy despite opposition from her family and moved in with him in Panvel. On July 1, Munna, Gulnaz and three others had gone to Panvel to bring her back, saying a proper marriage ceremony would be conducted. She agreed to come home. But when she got there, Mehanaz strangled her with a towel while Gulnaz held her legs and her minor sister clamped her mouth shut. A PTI report quoted investigating officer Hinduram Patil as saying: “Khan peeled off the skin from her face and cut her nose so no one could identify the body if recovered.”
Defence lawyer Wahab Khan said the case wasn’t rarest of rare as cause of death was strangulation and the body was cut only with intention to destroy evidence. He also argued that the Khans had “committed murder only to set an example for their other daughters, so they didn’t follow in their sister’s footsteps”.