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Laila Khan murder trial: Accused wanted to push sisters into prostitution, says step father

Asif Shaikh is the fifth prosecution witness being examined by special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam before the court conducting the trial against Parvez Tak for murdering Laila, her mother Celina, older sister Azmina, twin siblings Zara and Imran and cousin Reshma.

mumbai Updated: Sep 24, 2016 01:45 IST
Charul Shah

Parvez Tak, facing trial for murdering starlet Laila Khan and her family, wanted to push her and her sisters into prostitution in Dubai to earn money, according to Asif Shaikh, the second husband of Laila’s mother Celina.

Shaikh is the fifth prosecution witness being examined by special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam before the court conducting the trial against Tak for murdering Laila, her mother Celina, older sister Azmina, twin siblings Zara and Imran and cousin Reshma.

The family went missing in February 2011. Their bodies were later found buried in a pit at a farmhouse that Laila owned in Igatpuri.

Shaikh told the court he knew Tak as Celina had married him after her divorce from Shaikh.

Shaikh said he had cordial relations with Celina’s children from a previous marriage, that he would to visit them frequently and that this irked Tak.

“Celina told me Tak did not like my visits to their house,” Shaikh told the court. He said Tak did not work and had no source of income, and would fight with Celina over money.

“Azmina, Zara and Reshma would tell me Tak always asked them to go to Dubai to earn money. But the girls were not ready. Tak used to harass them and threatened them,” Shaikh said.

In a further clarification, Shaikh said Tak wanted the girls to get into prostitution to earn more money.

According to the police, Tak killed Laila and her family as in 2010, Azmina, Reshma and Zara had gone to Dubai and worked with an Arab national) known to Tak, but refused to share their earnings with him when they returned.

The crime branch said in its charge sheet the refusal to share the money offended Tak. He held this grudge against the sisters, after which he hatched the conspiracy to eliminate the entire family and take their property, the charge sheet said.

Tak planned to take the family to their Igatpuri farm house, where he hired an associate and wanted accused Shakir Hussain Wani as the watchman. Wani helped him kill the six people and bury them in the compound. He set the house on fire to destroy evidence.

Shaikh has claimed that on February 7, 2011, he was at Laila’s house, where Zara told him Tak had been calling all family members to Igatpuri fora holiday, and he and Celina had already reached. Three days later, Shaikh received a call from Prakash Mengal, a watchman at the Igatpuri house who said there was smoke at the house.

Shaikh said he tried to call everyone, but couldn’t reach them. When he finally went to Celina’s house, he found it locked. He then asked the watchman, who told him none of the family returned, except Tak.

“The watchman told me Tak returned on February 9, 2011. He told me Tak told him “madam and children had gone to Kashmir for a wedding and would not return for two to three months. The watchman told me Tak came with Shakir and another person. They took two full bags, their two cats from the house and left,” Shaikh said.

Shaikh will now being cross examined by defence lawyer Wahab Khan.