Bhopal: An MLA
of the ruling BJP is under the scanner over the murder of Bhopal RTI
activist Shehla Masood, CBI sources said a day after the arrest of a woman
architect. According to the agency sources, the legislator had helped
architect Zahida Parvez bag contracts from the Madhya Pradesh government
and Shehla had sought to expose the alleged nexus.
adds another element of intrigue to claims by the agency that Zahida had
got Shehla murdered through contract killers last August as she suspected
an affair between the activist and her businessman-husband. The sources
said Shehla and Zahida were friends initially and close to the MLA. But
later, Shehla believed the architect enjoyed greater patronage with the
leader and resented it, the sources said.
Masood Sultan denied knowledge of his daughter’s “friendship” with
Zahida. “I have full faith in the CBI and want the truth to come out. I
have not understood the motive of the murder so far,” Masood, a retired
government employee, said on Wednesday. The MLA has been questioned twice
earlier, as have several politicians and bureaucrats, but the
investigators are scanning his role afresh after the arrest of Zahida and
two others yesterday.
Zahida has not been co-operating with the
CBI during her interrogation, the sources said, prompting the sleuths to
call a specialised team from the agency’s headquarters in New Delhi. The
mother of two was today remanded in custody for a week by a special CBI
court in Indore along with Saqib, one of the two held yesterday and the
alleged middleman who helped Zahida hire contract killers from Kanpur.
an alleged hired assassin, was held in Kanpur and a country-made pistol,
possibly the murder weapon, was recovered from him, the sources said. A
court in the Uttar Pradesh town has sent him to two weeks’ custody.
According to the CBI sources, Zahida had hired three killers — Irfan,
Shanu and Salim —for an agreed sum of Rs 5 lakh with the help of Saqib.
has told investigators that he was reluctant to target Shehla as she was a
woman and recommended accomplice Shanu, who reportedly shot the activist
dead in her car outside her Bhopal home on August 16 last year. Shanu was
killed by two unidentified youths in Kanpur in November last year, around
three months after Shehla’s murder Uttar Pradesh police said. Salim is
Irfan has told the sleuths that an initial amount of
Rs 2 lakh was paid to Shanu with the promise that the rest of would be
given after the killing. He has claimed the remaining Rs 3 lakh was never
paid. Irfan has said he along with Shanu had Salim had travelled to Bhopal
on August 10, six days before the murder, and tracked Shehla’s
movements, the sources said.
-The Telegraph, Calcutta