This Article is From Mar 04, 2012

Shehla Masood murder case: BJP legislator questioned by CBI for third time

Bhopal: As dark details of RTI activist Shehla Masood's murder slowly unravel, the role of an MLA from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Dhruv Narayan Singh, is firmly under the scanner. Mr Singh, said to be close to Ms Masood, was interrogated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for the third time on Saturday. The grilling continued for over five hours.

"The CBI team in Bhopal called me for questioning. I went there at around 5:30 pm. They asked me questions in the case and I told them what I knew. They also told me what they wanted to say to me," Mr Singh said after his questioning ended.

Doubts about the MLA's possible involvement in or knowledge about Ms Masood's death have strengthened after a diary detailing his relationship with her as also the alleged mastermind of the murder, Zahida Pervez, have emerged. Ms Pervez, who is presently in the custody of the CBI, is an architect from Bhopal who was allegedly romantically involved with the MLA. But the latter's growing proximity with Ms Masood seems to have angered Ms Pervez, something that the diary, with entries in Hindi and Urdu, documents. "Either, I will commit suicide or I will kill those who are close to Dhruv," Ms Pervez wrote in March last year in the diary recovered by investigators from her office. (Read)

The legislator was also a frequent visitor at the dead activist's home, as told by her father Masood Sultan. He told NDTV that the MLA was the first person he called after he learnt that his daughter had been killed. "He just kept quiet," he recalled. "I expected him to ask for details but he did not. Then he came to the house to offer his condolences. After that he never came to meet us," he said. (Read) Ms Masood was shot dead outside her house at Koh-e-Fiza locality in Bhopal on August 16 last year when she was going to take part in protests in support of the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Mr Singh's trips to Ms Masood's home, incidentally, were being closely tracked by Ms Pervez. She allegedly stalked him; one day, her diary shows, she saw him entering Ms Masood's home.

Meanwhile, the MLA's questioning has given the Opposition fresh ammunition to attack the BJP. "From day one, BJP is being named in Shehla's murder case. If properly investigated, many senior BJP leaders name will surface in the case," BK Hariprasad, Congress General Secretary said.

But the BJP was quick to react. "Nobody can be held guilty by mere naming by media and police...unless the court decides on this," senior party leader Sushma Swaraj said.

The CBI has already made four arrests in the case. Saba Farooqui, a close friend of Ms Pervez and an alleged co-conspirator, was arrested on Saturday and was remanded to the agency's custody till March 6. (Read) The agency will also apply for the remand of Irfan, the man who was allegedly paid to get Ms Masood killed. Sleuths believe that Irfan could lead them to the sharpshooter who's still at large. The CBI has also traced a car and a bike that it hopes could help throw more vital clues in the case.