VE & MURDER BHOPAL
An ambitious RTI activist. A flirtatious and powerful politician. An obsessive lover. A deadly triangle cost one woman her life.
On February 29, 2012, Keshav Kumar, joint director, Central Bureau of Investigation ( CBI), led a search team to the first floor office of Zahida Parvez, 35. Zahida, who ran an architecture firm in the upmarket MP Nagar area of Bhopal, had been arrested a day earlier as the prime suspect in the murder of Shehla Masood, 38, an ambitious RTI activist with friends in high places.
Kumar’s prize find was Zahida’s personal diary. “She is shoot ( sic) dead in front of her house,” said the entry for August 16, 2011, the day of the murder. It added: “I was very depressed since from the early morning… all of sudden Ali ( Saquib Ali ‘ Danger’, the man who allegedly hired the hitmen) called up around 11: 15 that Mubarak ho sahib ( Congratulations), now we did it in front of her house.” Zahida noted that she confirmed the murder by sending an employee to Shehla’s house to double- check. “Then I became so relaxed.”
Kumar immediately called up his colleague in Delhi, CBI Deputy Inspector General Arun Bothra. His message was simple: “We have nailed her.” During their two- hour- long search, the team uncovered evidence of a dramatic and, as it turned out, deadly love triangle. Zahida had a passionate relationship with powerful BJP MLA Dhruv Narayan Singh, 53, who had a second paramour in Shehla. She was obsessed with eliminating Shehla. CBI found a hardbound diary exposing explicit de- tails of Zahida’s sexual encounters with Singh, a graphic CD recording, used condoms carefully preserved in small plastic packets with the date when they were used, and a lock of hair, also in a plastic packet. There were also the confessions during interrogation in the CBI office in the tree- lined Char Imli area of Bhopal, all of which will be used as information to draft a chargesheet by May- end.
This unlikely triangle involved a besotted Zahida, married into one of Bhopal’s richest Bohra families; a flirtatious Singh, son of for-
SHEHLA MASOOD’S BODYLYING IN HER CAR OUTSIDE HER HOME IN BHOPALON AUGUST16, 2011