Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh`s BJP chief Prabhat Jha was caught up in a controversy after a photo surfaced Thursday showing him with an accused in the murder of RTI activist Shehla Masood.
Jha, however, denied knowing the accused Shaqib `Danger` while the Congress termed the photo the proof of the ruling BJP`s ties with criminals.
Shaqib, who was arrested Tuesday night by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) along with woman interior designer Zahida Parvez, is shown in the photo garlanding and greeting Jha. Shaqib is also seen with BJP district president Alok Verma. The pictures are dated June 11, 2011.
The matter was also raised during the ongoing session of the assembly where Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh of the Congress said: "Such photographs show that BJP leaders are patronizing criminals. That is why crime graph is going high in state."
Jha played down the photo.
"We live a public life. Several such people want to get photographed with us but it does not mean we know each people," he told reporters.
Shaqib, against whom at least two dozen criminal cases have been registered at different police stations across the state capital, had been externed from Bhopal for a year in November last year.
In the Masood murder case, Shaqib had played a crucial role and had arranged contract killer for Parvez.