Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shehla Masood: RTI activist silenced forever


There has been no breakthrough in the Shehla murder case as of now. Masood, who was a prominent Right to Information Activist, was shot dead outside her residence while on the way to attend anti-corruption campaign in support of Anna Hazare at the Bhopal Club on 16 August. Murder of RTI activist Shehla Masood continues to be shrouded in mystery as it gets more entangled with each passing day.
Initially, police claimed it to be a suicide case. With intense pressure from all quarters the probe was handed over to CBI. Later on CBI took up the investigation and during the process of investigation has revealed that police tampered with her mobile phone and made a number of calls from her mobile after her death. Not only this, CBI has also found some crucial evidence from Shehla’s car, which was earlier not traced or ignored by the Bhopal police. It is believed that Shehla had threatened to expose wide spread corruption in the state machinery days before her murder. There are also reports that Shehla had earlier informed the authorities about the threat to her life from a senior police officer. At the time of her death, Masood was waiting for replies to over 40 RTIs she had filed in different departments of the state government. Masood had also filed many controversial RTIs related to income tax details about BJP Rajya Sabha MP Anil Madhav Dave and his NGO.
In 2008, Shehla had also made a written complaint about harassment and threatening calls at the City’s Maharana Pratap Nagar Police Station. Family members of Shehla have claimed that Shehla had told them that a BJP MP Anil Dave was her biggest enemy. Police and CBI may also question BJP MP Tarun Vijay because phone records show that he talked to Shehla before she got killed. Tarun Vijay while defending his position at a press conference in Delhi said that Shehla was a very good friend and she was associated with many programmes of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Foundation as an event manager. He further said that it is natural that those in contact with her may be questioned. During the process of investigation CBI recreated the scenes to investigate it further or to find some clue or leads that can help them to nab the killers. The CBI is contemplating to exhume the body of Shehla Masood. BJP MLA from Bhopal Dhruv Narayan Singh, who is also the son of former late chief minister Govind Narayan Singh, has been questioned about his relationship with Masood.
Taking note of the online petition filed by Lenin Raghuvanshi a human right activist from Varanasi the National Human Rights Commission has asked the Director General of Police of Madhya Pradesh to give a report within four weeks. The Madhya Pradesh government has announced a reward of Rs one lakh for providing any clue about her murderers. Surprisingly there has been no word from Anna Hazare on the Shehla murder case. She died while on her way to join the corruption campaign launched in support of Anna Hazare in Bhopal. Shehla headed the Madhya Pradesh chapter of the Anna Hazare-led anti corruption campaign.

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