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Shehla Masood murder trial starts in Indore court

August 31, 2012 19:48 IST

The trial of RTI activist Shehla Masood murder case started on Friday at the Special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Indore with the examination of first prosecution witness M R Uikey, an assistant sub-inspector of police who was the first to arrive at the murder site.

The trial is being presided over by Judge Anupam Srivastav.

Uikey was examined by Prosecutor Hemant Shukla and then cross-examined by defense lawyers Sunil Srivastava, Parvez Alam and Mahendra Morya.

Shehla was found shot dead in her car outside her house in Koh-e-Fiza locality of Bhopal on August 16, 2011.

Zahid Hasan Khan, the lawyer of main accused Zahida Pervez, said he would not cross-examine the police officer.

Advocate Srivastava argued that crime scene had been "tampered with" before the police arrived. He pointed out that the time of crime recorded in the `dehati-nalsi' (primary report) was different from that recorded in the FIR.

Uikey accepted that it was a typing error. When the lawyer asked whether Shehla was wearing chappals, necklace and if she was carrying any bag, he said he could not recollect.

To another question, the police officer replied that no empty cartridges were found on the spot.

When advocate Parvez Alam, the lawyer for alleged shooters Tabish and Saquib Ali, asked the inspector whether Shehla had been killed in the car or in the house, Uikey said he did not know the precise facts.

Shehla's relative and second prosecution witness Sohail Athar Zaidi did not turn up in the court. The next hearing is scheduled for September 18.

Shehla's father Sultan Masood and relatives Sayyed Rahil Hussain and Sohail Athar Zaidi, who were supposed to appear on Thursday but did not, would be examined on the next date, Prosecutor Shukla told reporters.

The trial was to start on Thursday.

According to the CBI, Zahida Pervez, a Bhopal-based interior designer, hired contract killers to murder Shehla because she was jealous of the victim's growing relationship with Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Legislative Assembly Dhruvnarayan Singh. Zahida allegedly had intimate relations with the MLA.

Talking to reporters later, defence lawyer Srivastava alleged that the police had handled the crime scene carelessly.

"The crime scene had been changed when the police arrived. Police do not know if Shehla's body was shifted from the steering seat to the side-seat," he alleged.

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