IN A WhatsApp text message he sent a day before he is believed to have killed 14 members of his family in the span of 30-40 minutes in the wee hours of Sunday, Hasnain Warekar, 35, told his brother-in-law that he had a surprise for him. Shaukat Khan, who lost his wife Sabina, their daughter and two sons, told The Indian Express on Monday that there was no reason to view the message with any suspicion.
“I wish I had known this is what he was talking about,” Shaukat said, in between sobs, outside his residence in Khairna village in Navi Mumbai.
Police have now been told Hasnain had taken a loan that Shaukat was aware of. “He had told me about seven months ago that he was initiating an export business for which he was collecting capital. He was an earnest man who anybody could have trusted. He had taken a loan from a few people and when he could not repay it, he had to hand his business decisions to one of them. I do not know who this person is but I have urged the police to check Hasnain’s call data records and also his bank transactions,” Shaukat said.
Only on Friday, Hasnain had told Shaukat that an investor had promised a cheque of Rs 25 lakh. “We discussed that the money would come into his account by Tuesday, after which he could repay loans,” said Shaukat.
Shaukat said though the family get-togethers in the Kasarwadavli home of the Warekars were a frequent affair, Hasnain had not formally invited him this time, barring the mention of the “surprise”.
According to Shaukat, who is in his late-thirties and runs a small business, he spoke to his wife on Saturday evening when Sabina called to inform him that she was almost at the Kasarwadavli home.
Around 11.26 pm, he again called her on her cellphone number but she did not answer and he called Hasnain instead. “He picked up the phone and told me they were having dinner. He liked to cook for his family. It was a normal conversation, with no sign of any tension in his voice. He gave the phone to my wife and we spoke for a few minutes. I could hear the children playing and making a lot of noise in the background. They seemed to be having fun like any family does during a get-together,” Shaukat said.
He added that he went to bed around 1 am and woke up when a relative called him at 3.45 am, asking him to rush to Thane. “My uncle told me that one of my youngest sisters-in-law (Subia, the sole survivor) had been found in an injured state in the Thane home. I thought there may have been a robbery attempt at the house,” he said.
Shaukat said he had known Hasnain as a calm man who loved his sisters immensely and doted on his nephews and nieces. “My children would always be excited about going to their mamu’s home. Even this time, though my daughter had her exams, she insisted on going along. In my 15 years of marriage to his sister, never once had I seen Hasnain lose his cool, nor had my wife told me about him threatening them, not even in playful banter,” he added.
In the very next lane, Sabina’s younger sister Mariya Fakki’s husband Arfan sits surrounded by relatives. “He is in no position to talk. He has lost everything,” said his elder brother Ashfaq. “Their family get-togethers were usual. The usual practice was that the sisters went a day before, on Saturdays,” Ashfaq said.
On Saturday evening, Sabina Khan and Mariya Fakki left for Thane with their five children in an autorickshaw.
Police said Hasnain worked at a company, called Excelsior, in Mulund in 2012, followed by Atlantic Corporation in Thane. “It was a gradual progression and he moved companies after getting a promotion from accountant to senior accountant. After a brief period of unemployment, he started working at an accountancy firm in Vashi where he was earning Rs 25,000 per month,” said Ashutosh Dumbare, Joint Commissioner of Police, Thane.
A senior officer said the police are consulting psychiatrists on whether Hasnain was suffering from a psychological disorder. An officer added that they are also trying to check if Hasnain was “under somebody’s influence”. Eight teams, some of which are fanning out beyond the city, have been formed. The police are looking for babas who Hasnain might have consulted.
“We are waiting for the forensic report that will prove if there were sedatives in the food,” Dumbare said.
An officer also said it appeared that only Hasnain’s father Anwar managed to put up a fight. His’ is the only body with ‘defence wounds’ in the form of cuts on his fingers. The others may have been killed when unconscious, for there are no signs of resistance.