The murder of RTI activist Shehla Masood appears to be a crime of passion, but the possibility of a larger conspiracy cannot be ruled out, CBI officials told journalists here on Tuesday.

The CBI is clear that the prime accused is architect Zahida Pervez, who allegedly contracted Shehla's killing to Shaqib Ali alias Shaqib Danger, who in turn hired two persons to execute the murder.

The CBI feels Zahida's decision was the result of her jealousy over Shehla's increasing closeness to BJP MLA Dhruv Narayan Singh.

While the BJP has officially maintained that Mr. Singh is innocent, there are signs that the party could not entirely condone his involvement in the matter. Posters bearing his photographs have been removed from the city walls.

Mr. Singh, otherwise on posters for everything from religious events to party functions, was also absent from giant hoardings put up by “all and sundry” of the party to wish Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan a “happy birthday” on Monday.

However, the MLA visited Mr. Chauhan, along with Jitendra Daga, another BJP MLA under the CBI scanner for his alleged involvement in the murder of a State government official in 2009.

While senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj had defended Mr. Singh, State Industries Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya and another MLA Kamal Patel (under the CBI scanner over the brutal attack on TISS professor Shamim Modi two years ago) said the MLA was innocent and was being hounded for political reasons, as the CBI was under “the Congress control.”

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