Laila Khan murder case: Actor’s stepfather gets death penalty | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

Laila Khan murder case: Actor’s stepfather gets death penalty

ByRutuja Gaidhani
May 25, 2024 06:48 AM IST

Parvez Iqbal Tak sentenced to death for murdering actress Laila Khan and her family in a barbaric manner, considered rarest of rare case by court.

MUMBAI: Over 13 years after he murdered Laila Khan (30) and five members of her family, the sessions court on Friday sentenced Parvez Iqbal Tak, a forest contractor from Kashmir and the third husband of the actress’ mother, Shelina, to death. Tak was held guilty by the court on May 9 for the murders and destruction of evidence.

Laila Khan during the shoot of Film Wafaa at Lonavala India, on Sunday, April 15, 2007. Photo by Prodip Guha (Hindustan Times)
Laila Khan during the shoot of Film Wafaa at Lonavala India, on Sunday, April 15, 2007. Photo by Prodip Guha (Hindustan Times)

“The case showcases a totally barbaric act that shocked the collective conscience of society, making it a rarest of rare case,” said additional sessions judge SB Pawar while handing Tak a death sentence. The court also considered that the convict committed multiple murders of his own family members without provocation.

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The court said Tak held a position of dominance and trust over the victims as he co-habited with the deceased Shelina as her husband. He also stayed with the other victims as a family member for a considerable amount of time.

The court observed that the murders had been committed in an “extremely grotesque and revolting manner”, adding that Tak took disadvantage of the situation knowing that the five women victims were vulnerable.

“The execution of the act indicates that these were cold blooded murders, after commission of which the accused cold heartedly and meticulously planned screening of the evidence, which remained unnoticed for almost 17 months after commission of the offence,” the court stated.

“The balance sheet of aggravated circumstances and mitigating circumstances, even after giving full weightage to the mitigating circumstances, in my opinion, leans in favour of imposing the extreme punishment,” the court said, referring to the brutal way the murders were committed – all the victims had suffered skull fractures and some had fractures in other body parts, which was indicative of them being brutally assaulted.

“Therefore, keeping in mind the magnitude and enormity of the crime as well as the ghastly nature of the offence, in the light of all aggravating circumstances of the crime and mitigating circumstances, in my opinion, the accused is liable to suffer the maximum punishment for the offence committed by him, as imposition of life imprisonment would not be the adequate punishment to subserve the cause of justice,” the court added.

Laila Khan, born as Reshma Patel and known for her role opposite Rajesh Khanna in a 2008 film Wafa: A Deadly Love Story, and five members of her family were reported missing by Laila’s father and Shelina’s first husband Nadir Patel. Those missing included her mother Shelina Patel (51), elder sister Azmina (32), twin siblings Zara and Imran (25), and Reshma, a daughter of Shelina’s sister.

During investigation, the police found that Tak was the last person to be seen in the company of the family in Kolurwadi village of Igatpuri tehsil, where Shelina owned a farmhouse. The murders came to light after Tak, suspected of having links with terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, was arrested on July 8, 2012, from Kashmir. He later led the police to Shelina’s bungalow and pointed out the place where he had buried the bodies.

According to the police, in 2010 Azmina, Reshma and Zara had gone to Dubai and worked with an Arab national known to Tak. Relations between Tak and Laila’s family soured when her sisters refused to share their Dubai earnings with him after they returned to India.

He therefore hatched a plan to wipe out the entire family and usurp their properties, including a flat and a shop in Oshiwara, another flat in Mira Road and the farmhouse in Igatpuri along with jewellery and cash.

Accordingly, the police said, Tak ensured that his associate and a wanted accused, Shakir Hussain Wani, was hired as a watchman at Shelina’s farmhouse in Igatpuri. In early February 2011, at the farmhouse he had a heated argument with Shelina, following which he hit her with a blunt object leading to her death.

When other family members rushed to her help, Tak allegedly bludgeoned Imran with the help of the watchman. The duo then killed the remaining four family members using knives and rods and buried all the bodies in the compound and set the farmhouse on fire to destroy the evidence.

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