New Delhi, Nov 7 :
The Delhi High Court Friday asked 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 Heptulla’s instance when she headed the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). Heptulla is the minority affairs minister in the Narendra Modi government.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru sought a response from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by Nov 14, after it failed to file the reply on the issue.
The alleged morphed photograph was published in a book titled “Journey of a Legend: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad 1888-1958” by ICCR in 2005, and showed Azad seating with Heptulla after her graduation. The publication was later withdrawn by ICCR.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appeared for Ahmed, told the court that it was a morphed photograph as Heptulla had graduated in May 1958, whereas Azad had passed away Feb 22, 1958.
Bhushan had earlier argued 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 take not more than two weeks to finish, he 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 lapse of more than nine years, the CBI has not yet concluded the investigation or made the outcome of the investigation known,” Bhushan has said.