Skip to main content

Did Najma Heptulla morph photograph where she "sits" next to Maulana Azad? Delhi High Court seeks probe

The original photograph
By Our Representative
In an unprecedented move, the Delhi High Court on March 16, 2018 (Court 10, Item 22, PIL 7003 of 2014), has asked the CBI for relevant records of the steps taken to investigate into the photo morphing of India's first education minister, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, allegedly by Manipur governor Najma Heptulla, in a coffee table book, “Journey of A Legend: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: 1888-1958”, authored by her.
Bringing this to light, in an email alert to Counterview, the petitioner in the case, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, has said, Justice Rajiv Shakdher asked the CBI counsel to produce relevant records for court's perusal to show prima facie what steps were taken to inquire into the photo morphing case as he was not convinced by the “Self-Contained Note” to give a clean chit to Heptulla.
The court was hearing the plea by Ahmed, grandnephew of Maulana Azad, seeking inquiry into the "morphing" of a photo of Maulana Azad and Najma Heptulla’s alleged role in it. Ahmed moved the court saying that the photo morphing was done at Heptulla's instance when she headed the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in 2005.
Justice Shakdher also directed CBI to see the evidence given by Dr Madhup Mohta, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, who as an intervener had alleged that the photo was morphed and Heptulla was very much part of the process. The counsel for CBI earlier opposed the IFS officer's plea to implead him as party in the matter, saying, the officer himself was an accused in other two cases.
Photograph in the withdrawn book
Says Ahmed, the question still remains as to why no FIR was not lodged by ICCR when it was found that the photograph in the coffee table book, published by ICCR, was morphed. According to Ahmed's counsel, Govind Jee, CBI was defending Heptulla as she happened to be politically well connected.
During the hearing, CBI told the court that the allegation of photo morphing was inquired into at a preliminary level. However, after the probe, 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.
Govind Jee, on the other hand, argued that from the evidences apparent on record it was clear that photo morphing did happen, but CBI has till has date failed to ascertain who was responsible for this.
The controversial photograph showed young Heptulla with the Maulana. The caption read, “Najma Heptulla with Maulana Azad after her graduation”. According to Ahmed, "Official inquiries later revealed that Heptulla had graduated in May 1958, whereas the Maulana passed away on February 22, 1958."
As it caused considerable embarrassment, Ahmed says, the book was "withdrawn and banned" and a revised version got published where the morphed picture was replaced by a portrait of Maulana Azad.
The original photograph of 1953 showed Reza Shah Pehalvi, the Shah of Iran, sitting with Maulana Azad, but Heptulla "pasted her own picture with the help of computer experts."
Interestingly, the book was scheduled for joint release by Manmohan Singh, then Prime Minister, and Parvez Mushrraf, as Pakistan chief executive at the Indo-Pak diplomacy one-day cricket match, at Firoz Shah Kotla on April 17, 2005.
"However, as Mohta, who was then Publications Officer of ICCR, discovered that Heptulla's photograph was morphed, the book release was cancelled", says Ahmed.
A former Congress leader, Heptulla, who had strained relations with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, joined BJP in June 2004. She was minorities affairs minister under Prime Minister Narendra Modi between 2014 and 2016, after which she was shifted as Manipur governor.

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?