Motive behind Shehla Masood murder unclear

Bhopal: The motive behind the murder of Madhya Pradesh RTI activist Shehla Masood continues to be shrouded in mystery even after investigators arrested three persons including a woman interior designer, in this connection.

While the CBI arrested interior designer Zahida Pervez and Shakib Ali "Danger" from here, the UP police has apprehended one person from Kanpur.

Whether the murder was the result of a relationship that Shehla is said to have with Zahida`s husband or was it professional rivalry between the two over getting contracts from the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (MPTDC) for their alleged proximity with BJP MLA and then MPTDC Chairman, Dhruv Narayan Singh, are some questions that the central agency needs to probe.

Sources said it was Shehla, who had introduced Zahida to MPTDC, but when she got closer with the then Chairman and started getting contracts, the RTI activist created hurdles by filing number of RTI applications to block the projects.

Efforts to contact Dhruv Narayan on the issue proved futile as he remained unavailable.

Though CBI has already quizzed Narayan in this regard, whether it will call him again for further investigations in the light of new developments in the case, is not yet clear.

CBI spokesperson, Dharini Mishra told PTI that "whether to question him (Dhruv Narayan) again or not in this regard would depend on the outcome of the investigations currently underway and if something tangible comes out then definitely, whoever the person may be, would be summoned."

"At present it is too premature to say whether he would be called or not," she said.

Meanwhile, sources associated with the probe during the initial phase said the CBI reached the alleged killers, on the basis of call details generated from the tower located in the Koh-e-Fiza area where Shehla was shot dead on August 16, 2011.

After analyising the calls details closely CBI reached Zahida, Shakib Ali alias Danger and the Kanpur based shooters.

Though CBI claimed that Zahida has confessed before the agency sleuths that it was she who had ordered Masood`s murder because she was suspicious of the slain activist`s relations with her husband. However, she later denied the same in the CBI court at Indore and added that she has nothing to do with the murder and was being framed by the CBI into it.

However, the alleged contract killer, who was arrested in Kanpur in connection with the murder case, has confessed that he and two others were hired for Rs 3 lakh for killing the RTI activist in Bhopal last year, the UP police claimed.

According to police, during the interrogation, Irfan said that he along with Shanu Alaunga, a sharpshooter who was shot dead in an unrelated incident in November last year, and one Salim had been hired for Rs three lakh by a Bhopal-based person to carry out the murder.

Irfan claimed that it was Shanu who shot dead the RTI activist on August 16 and later they returned to Kanpur.

Shanu was gunned down in November last year by two motorcycle-borne youths outside the court here while the third killer, Salim, is not yet arrested.

The case also took interesting turn when Zahida`s mother-in-law Fatima alleged in the media that her daughter- in-law is a very "cruel woman" and she had beaten her also and could go to any extent to get things done.

But, a close relative of Zahida wishing anonymity said that though `saas-bahu` relations being not good is a common thing almost in every house, there is no truth in the allegation that she used to assault her mother-in-law.

He also said that they belong to Bohra community which is known for their business interests and never indulge in such activities.