Key suspect in missing starlet case arrested

Pervez Ahmed Tak, the main suspect in the disappearance of Bollywood starlet Laila Khan and her family from Maharashtra more than 16 months back, was arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir police on Thursday.

Tak, a resident of Kishtwar in the Jammu region, was allegedly hiding in Andhra Pradesh and was lured through a bait to come to Jammu, where he was arrested, said Garib Dass, DIG of Police for Ramban-Doda-Kishtwar range.

Although the police had not found any links between terrorist groups and the missing family as initially reported, Tak "certainly knows many things about them", the officer said. Tak was yet to be questioned in detail about the missing family as the police were in the process of bringing him to Kishtwar from Jammu, Dass added.

Khan, her two sisters, a brother, her mother Saleena, as well as a cousin sister, went missing from the hill town of Igatpuri in Nashik district in February 2011. They were last seen leaving, allegedly with Tak, in two vehicles from a farm house in Igatpuri.

Tak is suspected to have met Khan's mother Saleena in Delhi and subsequently married her. Jammu and Kashmir and Maharashtra police sources have claimed that they have found cases of cheating and forgery against Tak while probing his antecedents. Tak, 35, unsuccessfully contested the 2008 assembly elections as a NCP candidate from Inderwar.

Police sources said that although Tak had allegedly gone underground since the starlet and her family went missing, he was apparently in touch with his family and friends in Kishtwar by making phone calls using VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology.

After the recovery of an abandoned vehicle that belonged to Saleena from Kishtwar last month, investigators are believed to have detained a local there with whom Tak was in touch. The man agreed to help lure Tak to Jammu and with the help of other locals, offered Tak money in return for getting some work done through his contacts in the government.

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