The powerful,rich MLA at centre of Shehla scandal

In April 2010,Masood’s event management company,Miracle,organised a party in Hotel Palash,a tourism department hotel in Bhopal,but did not bother to pay a Rs 60,000 food bill

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Bhopal | Published: March 4, 2012 1:06 am

Power and money came easy to BJP MLA Dhruv Narayan Singh. What he perhaps lacked was fame,though presumably he didn’t wish for the kind he has attracted since he got drawn into the Shehla Masood murder scandal.

The alleged love interest of both Masood and murder accused Zahida Parvez,the 53-year-old has lately been keeping a low profile,quite unlike the swagger that Madhya Pradesh had come to associate with the MLA who has long aspired to become a minister.

Coming from a politically powerful and landed family,a former Ranji cricketer and the son of former state chief minister Govind Narayan Singh,Dhruv Narayan represents Bhopal (Central) constituency that has a sizeable population of Muslims and is in-charge of the BJP’s Minority Cell. However,according to those in the know,it was the influence he wielded as chairman of the Bhopal Development Authority (BDA) and the MP Tourism Development Corporation that Singh used to his advantage the most.

It was during his tenure in the posts (he now holds neither posts) that he came across Parvez. During this time the 36-year-old interior designer became an empanelled architect with the tourism body despite reportedly not meeting the requisite qualifications. Parvez allegedly felt that Masood was blocking contracts due to her through her frequent RTIs,which was reportedly the genesis of their hostilities. Singh appears to have unsuccessfully tried to humour them both,further provoking Parvez,who saw this as a sign of the MLA’s growing proximity with Masood.

In April 2010,Masood’s event management company,Miracle,organised a party in Hotel Palash,a tourism department hotel in Bhopal,but did not bother to pay a Rs 60,000 food bill. Despite a rule that outstanding bills be collected within three months,Masood had not paid the money till her death in August 2011 — a fact admitted by the government in the Assembly recently. That Masood’s father trusted Singh was evident from the fact that the MLA was the first person he called after his daughter’s murder.

Also the chief of the Bhopal District Cricket Association,Singh began his political career as a municipal councillor in 1994 and was expected to get a Lok Sabha ticket in 1996 from Rewa till an eleventh hour change. He became an MLA for the first time in 2008 (his elder brother Harsh Singh lost as a BJP candidate the same year). Harsh had earlier won both as a Congress candidate and as an Independent.

Dhruv’s father Govind Narayan too was a Congress legislator before Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia helped him become the CM by stitching together a coalition called the United Legislators Party in the late 1960s. Later,he served an unfinished term as the governor of Bihar. His grandfather Awadesh Pratap Singh was the first chief minister of erstwhile Vindhya Pradesh.

While his confidants claim Singh is an able administrator,his detractors accuse him of malpractices during his stint at the BDA,of purchasing large chunks of land at cheap rates and of running a real estate business. “Given his money and clout,women like Shehla and Zahida got easily attracted to him because he also gave them contracts,” said a party insider. Becoming a minister has been a long-standing ambition for Singh,which now seems further away than ever. “His career is over. All I hope is that he emerges unscathed,” said a party leader.

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