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MP Govt. agrees for CBI probe into Shehla Masood Murder Case

Thursday August 18, 2011 11:42:52 PM, Pervez Bari,

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The broad day-light murder of Right To Information, (RTI), activist Ms Shehla Masood here in Bhopal in front of her residence on Tuesday morning   »

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Bhopal: Bowing to the overwhelming demand of Central Bureau of Investigations, (CBI), inquiry into the gruesome broad day-light murder of RTI activist Ms Shehla Masood, the Bharatiya Janata Party ruled Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has directed the state Home Department to send a request to the premier investigating agency for holding an inquiry into the crime.


An official spokesman made the above announcement here on Thursday evening. He said that the family members of Ms Shehla Masood, who was gunned down in her car in front of her residence on August 16 morning, had met the Director General of Madhya Pradesh Police and requested him for a CBI inquiry into the case.


Earlier in the day, Masood Sultan, the father of Ms Shehla Masood, had expressed doubts of getting justice in her daughter’s murder case. He explained that he being a lower-middle class person, he was powerless to have an effective probe. He also alleged that in January this year, Shehla had filed a complaint with the Lokayukta that she feared threat to life from IPS officer Pawan Shrivastava. The way the police were handling the probe created suspicion about their sincerity, he said.


"We belong to lower middle-class and lack the power to purchase or to influence a top politician or an official," Sultan said, talking to reporters at his residence. "We expect no justice," he added. Sultan, a retired government officer, said he wanted a CBI inquiry.


After the murder, reports appeared in the local media that it could be a suicide, he pointed out, and expressed suspicion that these reports could be based on the information given by the police. His daughter could not have taken her own life, he asserted.


No weapon was found on the spot, yet media speculated about it being a suicide, he said, adding that she was scheduled to go to the United States in the first week of September, and had booked tickets. Suicide, against this background, was improbable, he said. Also, Islam considers it utterly wrong to take one's own life, that too in the holy month of Ramadan, he said.


"I fear that investigation into Ms Shehla's murder would also reach a dead-end and the killer would never be apprehended," Sultan lamented.


Meanwhile, it may be mentioned here that Ajay Singh, the leader of the main Congress Opposition in Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, while condemning the murder of Ms Shehla, had demanded a CBI inquiry into it. He said that the day-light murder in the state capital has proved that law and order situation in Madhya Pradesh has collapsed.


Writing a letter to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Singh had pointed out that Ms Shehla Masood was working as a RTI activist since a long time. Due to this many officers in the police administration and politicians were coming under her purview for their many a malpractices and deeds of corruption. In such a situation any probe by state agencies cannot be impartial and as such the whole gamut of investigations into the case must be handed over to CBI forthwith.


Singh recalled that last year Ms Shehla in a letter to the state Chief Minister and Home Minister along with high officers of the state and the police administration had named a senior police officer from whom she apprehended threat to life. However, despite this no security was provided to her and no action was taken against the named police officer goes to show that influential persons are involved.


He expressed apprehension that police is trying to downplay the crime and hush up the case. This is evident from the fact that despite the crime appears to be that of murder but police has started to float the theory of suicide even though no weapon has been on the scene of crime. Only a CBI inquiry will unravel truth and give justice to Ms Shehla’s family. 


While, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh in a letter to state Chief Minister Chouhan while expressing shock at Ms Shehla Masood's death had sincerely hoped that the State Government will bring the killer or killers to book soon.


"She was young and enthusiastic and I am very sad that she met an untimely end in such a brutal manner. This is the least we owe to the memory of a committed activist," had said the former Minister of State for MoEF. 


Commenting on the slain activist's correspondence with him over several issues of environment and tiger conservation, the former Environment Minister said: "She brought to my notice issues relating to Panna and Bandhavgarh and I recall having spoken to Rajesh Gopal, member secretary NTCA and HS Pabla, MP Chief Wildlife Warden about her complaints." 


Meanwhile, All India Democratic Women’s Association, (AIDWA), while condemning the heinous murder of social activist Ms Shehla Masood by unknown assailants, had demanded that pre-emptive measures to prevent such mafia style murders should be undertaken at the state and the national level. Checking rampant corruption should be one such priority agenda for action.


AIDWA in a statement said that the killing is a shocking indictment of the ruling BJP Government in Madhya Pradesh, and its police force which failed to take action despite repeated complaints from Shehla that she faced a threat to her life from a senior police officer. 


The statement stated that the incident underscores the vulnerability of social activists like Ms Shehla in a scenario where the nexus between corporate greed, corrupt power brokers including politicians, and mafia forces is on the rise.  Ms Shehla’s brave campaign to expose corruption in high places, her persistent crusade against poachers, illegal timber and mining mafia, had earned her many enemies. It is deeply regrettable that the state Government could not protect the life of such a committed and sincere individual.


AIDWA urged a proper enquiry into the murder, and exemplary punishment to all those guilty of this crime. The police officers who ignored her complaints must also be held accountable for their negligence.







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