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CBI gets conditional nod to quiz Shehla Masood murder accused

Shehla Masood was shot dead outside her house in Bhopal`s Koh-e-Fiza locality on August 16, 2011.

Indore: A special court here on Monday granted CBI conditional nod to examine main accused Zahida Parvez and her accomplice Saba Farooqui by a woman inspector in judicial lock-up.

The CBI wants to find out the origin of exhibits which were analysed after a chargesheet was filed last year in the Shehla Masood murder case.

Shehla Masood was shot dead outside her house in Bhopal`s Koh-e-Fiza locality on August 16, 2011.

In another order related to the case, the court also rejected the bail plea of alleged shooter Irfan saying that he was accused of taking a "supari" (contract) from the prime accused and hired by shooters Saquib Ali `Danger` and Tabish as per prosecution witnesses.

In his four-page order this afternoon, Special CBI Judge Anupam Srivastava directed the CBI that any woman officer could interrogate Zahida and Saba in lock-up, senior public prosecutor Hemant Shukla said.

The court also ordered that the accused women should not be tortured mentally or pressured for replies. The accused should be independent while replying to CBI interrogators.

The CBI should also apprise the court on the process of interrogation and progress of investigation well in time, the court said.

Saba`s lawyer Sunil Srivastava, who filed an objection against the CBI plea for the duo`s examination in lock-up, told a news agency that it appeared that the CBI wanted to file a supplementary chargesheet in the case.

After more than eight months of trial, the CBI`s witnesses could neither make or prove a charge against his client, and hence it was allegedly trying to find other clues, Srivastava claimed.

On January 24, the CBI court reserved its judgement after arguments of senior public prosecutor and defence lawyer on a petition filed by the CBI seeking permission to examine Zahida and Farooqui separately.

On January 10, the CBI filed a plea to seek the court`s permission to find out the origin of exhibits such as a handkerchief, a "used condom" and human hair found in the possession of the accused, as well as identities of persons to whom these belonged.

Saba`s lawyer Srivastava filed a five-page objection against the CBI petition saying that re-examination of his client is "illogical and infringement of human rights of a person who is undergoing trial and living in lock-up for the last eight to nine months".

The next prosecution witnesses will be produced in the CBI special court on February 12 and 13.