CBI told to file report in photo morphing case


The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file a status report in a case relating to alleged morphing of a photograph of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Union Minister of Minority Affairs Najma Heptulla, carried in an Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) publication. Ms. Heptulla was heading the ICCR when the book was published.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru of the High Court, who had earlier issued notices to the CBI and others on a writ petition seeking directions to bring to a logical end the preliminary enquiry into the case, asked the investigating agency to file its report by November 14. Other respondents in the case are the Union Government and the ICCR.

The writ petition has been filed by Firoz Bakht Ahmed, grandnephew of Maulana Azad. Ms. Heptulla appeared with the Maulana – who was the country’s first Education Minister – in the photo, which was later withdrawn.

The petitioner alleged that the photo, showing Ms. Heptulla seated with Maulana Azad after her graduation, was morphed as Ms. Heptulla had graduated in May 1958, three months after the Maulana’s death. The publication, since withdrawn, was titled “Journey of a Legend: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad 1888-1958”.

The High Court had in 2006 directed the CBI in a public interest litigation to probe the allegations and complete the investigation expeditiously. Mr. Ahmed said in his petition that the investigating agency had neither concluded the probe despite the lapse of nine years nor made the outcome of its probe known.

According to the petitioner, though the queries under the Right to Information Act were being sent to the CBI since 2008 for knowing the preliminary inquiry’s findings, the CBI had not replied on the pretext that it was exempted from the purview of the RTI Act or was unanswerable under Section 8 (1) (h) of the Act.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 5:20:29 PM |

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