Bhopal: Six years after RTI activist Shehla Masood was shot dead in broad daylight here, a special CBI court at Indore on Saturday sentenced four people, including prime accused Zahida Parvez, to life imprisonment while acquitting another accused for turning approver.
Other accused in the high-profile murder case, who were handed down life sentence, included Saba Farooqui, Zahida’s friend, and the two sharp-shooters, Saquib alias Danger and Tabish, hired to commit the crime. The fifth accused, Ifan, who turned government witness, was offered clemency.
It took around five and half years, 137 hearings and 83 witnesses for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to bring the accused to book.
Defence counsel Sanjay Gupta said he would move the high court against the verdict. Prime accused Zahida, an interior designer, said she was convicted but there was no evidence, or witness against her. She accused the CBI of framing her under pressure from influential people. Shehla Masood’s kin, however, expressed satisfaction at the verdict.
Shehla Masood (38), an RTI activist and anti-graft crusader, was shot dead in her car by two sharp-shooters when she was going to office from her home here on August 16, 2011.
The CBI was handed over the case three days after the incident when the MP police failed to make any headway. The case took a different turn with names of BJP MLA Dhrub Narayan Singh, son of former CM Govind Singh, cropping up in it. However, the CBI gave a clean chit to the saffron leader.
In its 4,400-page chargesheet filed on May 25, 2012, the CBI said Zahida had an affair with the BJP legislator and as Shehla too came close to him, she — out of jealousy — hired contract killers to eliminate her.