Anti-corruption activist shot dead in Madhya
An anti-corruption crusader and Right
to Information activist, Shehla Masood, was Tuesday shot dead
outside her residence here, police said. Masood was in her car in
Koh-e-Fiza area when she was shot in the
The broad day-light murder of Right To Information, (RTI),
activist Ms Shehla Masood here in Bhopal in front of her residence
on Tuesday morning continues to be a mystery as no clue have been
found. And as such no arrests have been made so far. The Madhya
Pradesh police is groping in the dark.
However, a private TV channel on Wednesday claimed to lay hands on
some proofs about the gruesome murder. According to the TV channel
it has found a letter purported to have been written by an IPS
officer to Ms Shehla wherein he has reportedly threatened her of
team from forensic science laboratory Sagar visited the scene of
crime on Wednesday. Since, there is no concrete clue in the case
till date; the police are relying much on the forensic
investigation to find out exact cause of the incident.
team of forensic experts led by Director FSL Sagar OP Shrivastava
reached the place on Wednesday morning and reconstructed the crime
scene to find out what had been the sequence of acts before
silver Santro car of
Shehla, in which she was shot, was also brought to the crime scene
from Koh-e-Fiza police station. A lady police constable was on the
driver’s seat and the whole action was reconstructed as how the
bullet shot could have hit
team took photographs, shot a video for detailed investigation of
the matter, and will submit a report in a couple of days.
Shrivastava his team would submit a report to the
IG about the scientific process of the murder in the next few
“The bullet was shot within 6 inches and a 315 bore bullet was
found stuck in her shoulder. There are many possibilities and
everything will be examined,” he added.
Meanwhile, the family members of Ms Shehla Masood have accused the
police of floating a suicide theory. Ms Shehla's cousin Umar
Sharif said the family was not satisfied with the pace of
investigation and sought a CBI inquiry into the murder.
father Mr. Masood Sultan has revealed that his daughter had told
him about a threat call from a Delhi number a couple of days
before the incident. Earlier, on Tuesday, Shehla's cousin Umar
Sharif had also stated that she (Shehla) had received a threat
call from a Delhi based number on Monday night, a day before she
Giving a queer turn to the murder mystery the police has started
to float the theory of suicide to serve the vested interests
wherein the needle of suspicion could be directed towards one of
the senior member of their fraternity. Some police officers had
suggested the injury resulting in Ms Shehla's death might have
been 'self-inflicted'. Toeing the line the Medico-Legal Institute
director D.S. Badkur has reportedly made a similar observation.
suicide theory gets nipped in the bud as no weapon was found on
the scene of crime. Infuriated 72-year-old Mr. Masood Sultan, Ms
Shehla’s father, feared the police is trying to twist the case.
Brushing aside the suicide theory Mr. Sultan said: “It is very
clear that the murder was well-planned with intention to kill. She
was in possession of some information received under RTI Act,
which was probably causing hurdle in someone's work and giving
sleepless nights to him".
Crest-fallen Mr. Sultan questioned that if it is a case of
suicide, where is the gun. "There was no trace of gunpowder on her
hands either", he said.
Meanwhile, commenting over possibilities of suicide, which has
been suspected by some police officials, Director FSL Sagar OP
Shrivastava said that after examining the Gun Shot Residue (GSR)
in the forensic laboratory the team could confirm whether it was
homicide or suicide.
a suicide, the GSR is found on the hands of the victim and if
something like that will be found then we can claim as suicide but
it will take time and in the meantime police investigation is on,”
may be noted here that in January 2010 Ms Shehla had told the
authorities that she “feared for her life” from a senior officer
of the Indian Police Service and had complained about the matter
to two successive police chiefs of the State. She had written to
the current Madhya Pradesh Director-General of Police S.K. Raut,
complaining against a particular officer. In the letter, Ms.
Shehla had accused him of harassing her and making threatening
calls to her, about which she had lodged a complaint at the city's
Maharana Pratap Nagar Police Station in 2008.
may be stated here that Ms Shehla had filed a complaint with the
Lokayukta (Vigilance Commissioner) against the malpractices of
this senior police officer where the inquiry against him is
pending. “I fear for my life from [him]. Please do the needful and
oblige,” she had urged the DGP.
Meanwhile, the police in Bhopal has set up five investigating
teams to probe into Ms Shehla’s murder from different angles.
Volunteers under the banner of MP Against Corruption gathered at
Boat Club here on Wednesday and paid homage to the departed soul.
The volunteers led by old friend and colleague of Ms Shehla, Ajay
Dubey severely criticized the 'murder' and demanded a CBI probe to
bring the perpetrators of the RTI activist's death to book.
While condemning the murder of Ms Shehla’s murder, Mr. Ajay Singh,
the leader of the main Congress Opposition in Madhya Pradesh
Vidhan Sabha, has demanded a CBI inquiry into it. He said that the
day-light murder in the state capital has proved that law and
order situation in Madhya Pradesh has collapsed.
Writing a letter to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh
Chouhan, Singh pointed out that Ms Shehla Masood was working as a
RTI activist since a long time. Due to this many officers in the
police administration and politicians were coming under her
purview for their many a malpractices and deeds of corruption. In
such a situation any probe by state agencies cannot be impartial
and as such the whole gamut of investigations into the case must
be handed over to CBI forthwith.
Singh recalled that last year Ms Shehla in a letter to the state
Chief Minister and Home Minister along with high officers of the
state and the police administration had named a senior police
officer from whom she apprehended threat to life. However, despite
this no security was provided to her and no action was taken
against the named police officer goes to show that influential
persons are involved.
expressed apprehension that police is trying to downplay the crime
and hush up the case. This is evident from the fact that despite
the crime appears to be that of murder but police has started to
float the theory of suicide even though no weapon has been on the
scene of crime. Only a CBI inquiry will unravel truth and give
justice to Ms Shehla’s family.
Meanwhile, All India Democratic Women’s Association, (AIDWA),
while condemning the heinous murder of social activist Ms Shehla
Masood by unknown assailants, has demanded that pre-emptive
measures to prevent such mafia style murders should be undertaken
at the state and the national level. Checking rampant corruption
should be one such priority agenda for action.
AIDWA in a statement said that the killing is a shocking
indictment of the ruling BJP Government in Madhya Pradesh, and its
police force which failed to take action despite repeated
complaints from Shehla that she faced a threat to her life from a
senior police officer.
statement stated that the incident underscores the vulnerability
of social activists like Ms Shehla in a scenario where the nexus
between corporate greed, corrupt power brokers including
politicians, and mafia forces is on the rise. Ms Shehla’s brave
campaign to expose corruption in high places, her persistent
crusade against poachers, illegal timber and mining mafia, had
earned her many enemies. It is deeply regrettable that the state
Government could not protect the life of such a committed and
AIDWA urged a proper enquiry into the murder, and exemplary
punishment to all those guilty of this crime. The police officers
who ignored her complaints must also be held accountable for their
Meanwhile, in a letter written to the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh
Chouhan, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has
expressed shock at Shehla Masood's death. "She was young and
enthusiastic and I am very sad that she met an untimely end in
such a brutal manner."
Commenting on the slain activist's correspondence with him over
several issues of environment and tiger conservation, the former
Environment Minister said: "She brought to my notice issues
relating to Panna and Bandhavgarh and I recall having spoken to
Rajesh Gopal, member secretary NTCA and HS Pabla, MP Chief
Wildlife Warden about her complaints."
sincerely hope that the State Government will bring the killer or
killers to book soon. This is the least we owe to the memory of a
committed activist," said the former Minister of State for MoEF.
Shehla was also an active tiger conservationist and environmental
crusader, constantly digging up information on the poaching mafia,
illegal diamond mining mafia, timber mafia and the hospitality
industry, which she said was violating environmental laws.