Son of victim key witness: Police

Salimullah, the 16-year-old son of Abida Khatun, who was murdered with her two daughters by husband Istyaq Shaikh in January last year, is likely to emerge a key witness in the case. The teen lived with his grandmother in Mumbai at the time the relationship of Shaikh, a leather manufacturing unit worker, and Khatun began.

Khatun (40), a widow, lived with daughters Sabiya (11) and Aliya (7) in Dharavi. She sold her home for Rs 9 lakh after Shaikh proposed marriage and they lived in Mumbra before moving to Kolkata with her daughters.

Police said Salimullah visited the family in Kolkata in October 2011 but stayed with another kin.

"As of now, we only have the confession of Shakih. Salimullah can provide us vital oral evidence of the relationship of his mother with the accused. He can be an important witness and we will speak to him," said Dhananjay Kulkarni, DCP (zone 5).

Shaikh was picked up Sunday from a hotel in Dharavi following a tip-off that he went to Kolkata with the victims and Rs 9 lakh but returned alone. He allegedly confessed to killing Khatun en route to his native Shadi Madanpur village in Uttar Pradesh and dumping her body in the fields in Fatehpur.

He then allegedly returned to Kolkata and mixed pesticide in drinking water to poison her daughters to death. He burried the bodies in different locations. Police recovered the body of Sabiya on January 25, 2011, and that of Aliya next day.

Kolkata police have charged Shaikh with murder and destroying evidence. They are holding him in transit remand until February 14.

"After picking up Shaikh, we got in touch with police in Kolkata and Uttar Pradesh. A team of officers from Kolkata took him Monday. Police in UP have not registered a case of murder but may seek custody of Shaikh," said Kulkarni.

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