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Probe reveals Maulana Azad-Najma Heptulla photo was morphed: CBI to HC

Tuesday April 10, 2018 11:44 PM, & Agencies

Najma Heptullah

New Delhi: The CBI has told the Delhi High Court that a controversial photograph of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Najma Heptulla, published in a book on the country's first education minister, has been morphed, but the identity of the person responsible for it is yet to be ascertained.

The submission of the central probe agency is contrary to its earlier stand that there was not sufficient evidence to substantiate the claim that the photo was morphed. However, it has recently told a bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher that its investigation has revealed that "the subject photograph has been morphed", according to PTI.

"...but what has not come through clearly in the investigation is as to who is responsible for morphing the photograph," the court noted and said that this aspect would be examined on the next date of hearing.

The alleged morphed photograph was pu blished in a book titled "Journey of a Legend: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad 1888 -1958" by ICCR in 2005, and showed Azad seated with Heptulla after her graduation. The publication was later withdrawn by ICCR.

The court was hearing a plea filed by Azad's grandnephew, Firoz Bakht Ahmed. In his petition Bakht has alleged that the morphing of the photo was done at the instance of Heptulla, presently the minority affairs minister in the Narendra Modi government, when she headed the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for Ahmed had earlier told the court that it was a morphed photograph as Heptulla, a grand niece of Maulana Azad, had graduated in May 1958, whereas Azad had passed away Feb 22, 1958.

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.

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