Bhopal, Mar 3 : The CBI is trying to ascertain whether there was a love triangle angle which led to the murder of RTI activist Shehla Masood here.
CBI on Friday arrested Saba Farooqi, an employee and alleged confidante of Zahida Pervez, for shielding information about Shehla's murder.
The CBI is zeroing in on the issue of alleged rivalry of Shehla with accused Zahida Pervez for the affection of BJP MLA Dhruv Narayan Singh.
"She (Saba) is believed to be a friend of the alleged conspirator in the killing and is understood to be aware of the crime and believed to be assisting in the conspiracy," CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said while announcing the fresh arrest in the case.
According to CBI sources, entries in her diary that Zahida meticulously maintained point out that her intense competition with Shehla over the BJP legislator was the chief motive for the crime. Investigators have gathered evidence which shows that Zahida was obsessed with Singh and intensely resented his proximity to Shehla.
Sources also said that the questioning of the accused including the two hired killers has revealed that Zahida, an architect and interior decorator, who came to know Singh in 2007, became so possessive of him that she had one of her employees exclusively devoted to monitoring his movements and analyzing call details through his bills.
Agency sources, citing entries in her diary, said Zahida tracked MLA's activities, including who he met and spoke with. An entry in her diary on a day before her alleged rival was killed records Zahida's anguish over the fact that Singh had not spoken to her for 2-3 days, but talked to Shehla for half-an-hour.
On another occasion, Zahida along with her employee Saba Farooqui, who was arrested on Friday, tailed Singh in her car when he visited Shehla's house and spent about half-an-hour there, sources claimed.
Her anger seemed to be peaking as shortly before the crime, Zahida scribbled in her personal diary "I will either commit suicide, or kill Masood".
To the investigators, the clinching entry was the one that Zahida scribbled on August 16, the day Shehla was murdered around 11.15 am outside her home. "I was depressed. Saquib had called around 11.15. He said 'mubarak ho. Ghar ke samne kaam ho gaya", Zahida wrote in the diary, the source said. According to sources, she and Saba engaged in some celebration after hearing about Shehla's killing.
Although investigators are in touch with Singh and plan to interrogate him, the BJP legislator is not regarded as a suspect yet.
Investigations have also established that Shehla was close to another BJP politician from Madhya Pradesh with whom she toured abroad for 40 days. The intimacy led to serious tensions within the MP's family.
The agency seems pleased with the progress in what was regarded as a blind case, with investigators doggedly trawling through reams of telephone call details to zero in on the accused -- Zahida and Saquib 'Danger' - and her link with contract killers from Kanpur -- Irfan and Shanu Alauga who was subsequently shot dead in a gang war.
It was while mining the details of calls that were made from the area where Shehla was gunned down that the investigators homed in on Saquib and his accomplices. Closer scrutiny of telephone calls showed that Saquib was in touch with Shanu who was present in the area at the time of the crime. Saquib's proximity to Zahida was brought out by the fact, sources claimed, that there were at least 60 calls between them.
The investigation revealed that Shanu called Saquib seven minutes after Shehla was shot dead outside her house on Bhopal, at 11.22 am, shooter Shanu had called Saquib and at 11.29 am, Saquib called Zahida to inform her about the killing.
Zahida came to know Saquib in 2007 when he came to collect payments on behalf of one of her business partners. Finding him useful, she allegedly developed a close friendship with Saquib and asked him to finish off Shehla for her. Sources said Saquib is believed to have told her that while he could not do the job himself, he knew some people who could do it.
Shanu, believed to have been killed in November last year and Irfan, who was subsequently arrested by UP Special Task Force in some case - were hired for a sum of Rs 3three lakh of which Rs 2 lakh was paid as advance.