Maulana Azad-Heptulla Photo Morphing Couldn't Be Proved: CBI

New Delhi
Maulana Azad-Heptulla Photo Morphing Couldn't Be Proved: CBI

CBI today informed the Delhi High Court that the alleged photo morphing of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Najma Heptulla in a book published on the country's first education minister could not be "substantiated" due to lack of sufficient evidence.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru was also told that this matter was sent to the "department for taking such action as deemed fit in the matter".

"The allegation of photo morphing was enquired into during the preliminary enquiry (PE) of... During the course of enquiry, witnesses were examined and documents were collected.

"However, after the enquiry, CBI was of the view that the allegation of photo morphing could not be substantiated as there was no sufficient incriminating admissible evidence for prosecution," status report filed by CBI's standing counsel R V Sinha said.

The probe agency filed its report after the court gave it last opportunity till December 18, to do the same.

CBI in its report also said that various allegations were probed including photo morphing and on this basis three regular cases were registered against Rakesh Kumar, former director general Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

The agency further said that the three cases did not pertain to the photo morphing issue.

The court has given the direction after Azad's grandnephew Firoz Bakht Ahmed alleged that the morphing was done at the instance of Heptulla when she was heading ICCR.

The controversial photograph showing Azad seating with Heptulla after her graduation was published in ICCR publication titled "Journey of a Legend, on the life of India's first Education Minister". The publication was later withdrawn by ICCR. 

The petitioner had alleged that the photograph was morphed as Heptulla had graduated in May, 1958 whereas Azad died on February 22, 1958 and pleaded with the court for a CBI inquiry into the controversy.

Earlier, the high court had said another bench has already passed the order directing CBI to probe the allegations and bring them to a logical conclusion as expeditiously as possible.

"Why don't you (CBI) put that order in place?" the judge had asked.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, had informed the court that on July 5, 2006 it had directed the probe agency to continue the investigation with respect to the allegations made and bring the same to a logical conclusion.

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