HC Raps CBI for Failing to Find Who Morphed Azad-Heptulla Picture

Published: 16th January 2015 07:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th January 2015 07:58 PM   |  A+A-


NEW DELHI: Delhi High Court today pulled up CBI over its failure to find out who allegedly morphed a picture of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Najma Heptulla in a book published on the country's first education minister.         

"Your (CBI) self-contained note itself states that the photo was morphed. Then also you are not able to find out who morphed it," Justice Rajiv Shakdher observed and said it was "not clear as to what action CBI has taken to investigate the issue of photo morphing".          

The court said it was "not keen on the prosecution of any X, Y and Z but if there is prima facie finding that something wrong occured, then the agency should question the then publishers and the people concerned with the book."          

It said the perusal of the CBI's "self-contained note leave unanswered questions" as to what steps were taken in respect of morphed photograph.  

"The counsel for CBI is directed to produce the relevant records for perusal of this court before February 27, to show prima facie as to what steps were taken by CBI to enquire into the incident of the photo morphing before coming to the final conclusion...," the court said.    

On the December 19, 2014, court direction, CBI today produced the note in a sealed cover for its perusal and after going through it, the judge rapped the agency's counsel for not bringing the investigation of the case to its logical conclusion.                

The court said the note does not speak of the actions taken by CBI in the case.

The court had asked for the self-contained note after CBI had in its earlier reply stated that the allegation against Union minister Heptulla could not be "substantiated" due to lack of sufficient evidence.            

The court was hearing a plea filed by Azad's grandnephew Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who had alleged that the morphing was done at the instance of Heptulla when she was heading the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

The controversial photograph showing Azad sitting with Heptulla after her graduation was published in an ICCR publication titled "Journey of a Legend, on the life of India's first Education Minister". The publication was later withdrawn by ICCR.                

The petitioner had alleged the photograph was morphed as Heptulla had graduated in May, 1958 whereas Azad died on February 22, 1958 and pleaded with the court for a CBI inquiry into the controversy.       

During the day's proceedings, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, argued that from the evidences apparent on record it was ample clear that photo morphing did happen, but CBI has failed till date to ascertain as to who was responsible for the morphing and whether the then President of ICCR, Heptulla selected the morphed photograph knowing it to be morphed.         

Earlier, Bhushan had informed the court that on July 5, 2006 it had directed the probe agency to continue the investigation with respect to the allegations made and bring the same to a logical conclusion.   


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