Court notice on plea on Maulana Azad, Heptulla's 'morphed' photo

New Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Tuesday issued notice to the central government, CBI and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) 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 picture was done at the instance of Heptulla, when she was heading the ICCR. Heptulla is minister of minority affairs in the Narendra Modi government now.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru sought a response from the external affairs ministry, the CBI and the ICCR by Nov 7.

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 The publication was later withdrawn by ICCR.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, appearing for Ahmed, told the court that it was a morphed photograph as Heptulla had graduated in May 1958, whereas Azad had passed away on Feb 22, 1958.

Bhushan further argued that it has been the practice of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to shield influential politicians owing to which the inquiry has been pending for the nine long years.

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

In July 2006, a division bench of 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 said.

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Updated Date: Oct 15, 2014 02:15:08 IST

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