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CBI gets more time for reply over morphed Maulana Azad, Najma photo probe
Tuesday December 16, 2014 7:56 PM, IANS

The Delhi High Court Tuesday granted two days time to the CBI to file a status report on a plea seeking to bring to a logical end the preliminary inquiries into the alleged morphing of a photo of India's first education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and union minister Najma Heptulla.

The plea filed by Azad's grand-nephew Firoz Bakht Ahmed alleged that the morphing of the photo was done at the instance of Heptulla, presently the minority affairs minister in the Narendra Modi government, when she headed the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

Justice Vibhu Bakhru sought a response from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by Dec 19, after it failed to file the reply on the issue and sought more time.

The alleged morphed photograph was pu blished in a book titled "Journey of a Legend: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad 1888 -1958" by ICCR in 2005, and showed Azad seated with Heptulla after her graduation. The publication was later withdrawn by ICCR.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appeared for Ahmed, had earlier told the court that it was a morphed photograph as Heptulla had graduated in May 1958, whereas Azad had passed away Feb 22, 1958.

The plea also said that it has been the practice of the CBI to shield influential politicians owing to which the inquiry has been pending for nine years.

According to rules, the inquiries should not take more than two weeks to finish, it added.

In July 2006, a division bench of the high court had directed the CBI to continue the investigation and the inquiry with respect to the allegations made and bring the same to a logical conclusion.

"However, despite a lapse of more than nine years, the CBI has not yet concluded the investigation or made the outcome of the investigation known," the plea said.

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