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7 held for journalist Dey’s murder, motive unclear
Published on 28 Jun. 2011 1:33 AM IST
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Mumbai Police have cracked the murder case of Jyotirmoy Dey, arresting seven men for killing the investigative journalist at the behest of mafia don Chhota Rajan but have yet to ascertain the motive, a top police official said here Monday. The arrested have been sent to police custody.
Addressing media persons, joint commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy said all seven accused, who did not have any idea of their target's identity, will have the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) slapped against them once the charges are framed.
Roy, however, said that they are yet to establish the motive behind the crime. "We have come to know of the modus operandi of the assailants, but we are yet to find out the motive," he said.
"The court has granted their custody till July 4 and we will find out the motive once we interrogate them," he added. Police have said that they belong to the Chhota Rajan gang, which is believed to have masterminded the killing.
Identifying the man who fired the five bullets that killed Dey June 11 as Rohit Thangappan Joseph alias Satish Kalia (34), a professional assassin who acted on the orders of Rajan, Roy said that he (Kalia) has four offences of murder and attempt to murder against him dating back to 1998 and 2004.
Dey was a respected journalist who worked for Mid Day newspaper and specialised on the mafia.
"Kalia's interrogation has revealed that 20 days before Dey's murder, he got a call about a job to be done. But he was not told who the target was. Later Kalia collected Rs.200,000 from an unidentified person in Chembur in south-central Mumbai," he added. Roy said that Kalia used a sophisticated US-made .32 bore revolver and 25 Czech-made cartridges that he again collected from an unidentified person in Kathgodam near Nainital (Uttarakhand).
"After his return from Nainital, Kalia contacted another shooter, Anil Bhanudas Waghmode, 35, and asked him to start building up a team for the operation. Till June 6, neither Kalia nor Waghmode knew the target," Roy said.
Kalia and Waghmode then contacted other five associates - Abhijit Kashiram Shinde, 28, Arun Janardan Dake, 27, Sashin Suresh Gaikwad, 27, Nilesh Narayan Shengde alias Babloo, 34 and Mangesh Damodar Agavane, 25.
On June 6, Kalia was given Dey's description along with the registration number of the motorcycle Dey rode and also the address of the two spots where he was to be found. One was the address of his Mid Day office in Parel area of south-central Mumbai and another in Hiranandani area of Powai in northwest Mumbai - close to Dey's house.
For the next three days Kalia and Waghmode followed Dey, but could not find a suitable chance to shoot Dey. "According to Kalia, they did not shoot Dey near his office as they ran a risk of being noticed and not being able to escape," Roy said.
On June 11, they followed him in Hiranandani where Dey first went to have a few documents photocopied and then to a courier office.
"Once Dey emerged from the courier office, they followed him. Kalia, who was riding pillion then asked the driver to take the motorcycle close to Dey's and shot five rounds from behind and the left side, one of them piercing Dey's heart," Roy said.
The assailants then went to a pre-decided spot in Jogeshwari in northwest Mumbai and after they watched television they realised the victim was an ace journalist.
"According to Kalia, he had then called Chhota Rajan and told him that Dey was a journalist and they had not expected to have been given a contract of killing a journalist," Roy said.
"Kalia said that they were promised more money, which they collected from a spot in Nalasopara in Thane district," he added.
Roy said the gang members immediately split and dispersed to different parts of the country to escape the police dragnet.
The gang, Roy said, had carried out "a very professional job", having trailed Dey - on the basis of the physical description given to them and the journalist's motorcycle registration number - for days.
Six of the killers rode on three motorcycles while the seventh member was in a back-up van.
The first arrests were made in the temple town of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, where Kalia, Waghmode and Shinde were caught.
"Babloo was arrested from Solapur in Maharashtra, while Dake, Agavane and Gaikwad were arrested from the Dharavi slum of Mumbai," Roy said.
Police have seized the weapon used by Kalia, 20 live rounds and 10 mobile telephones from the gang, along with the three motorcycles and one SUV.

Rs.1 mn reward for police for solving J. Dey murder
Maharashtra government Monday announced a cash reward of Rs.1 million for the Mumbai police Crime Branch team which solved the murder case.
Home Minister R.R. Patil said that the police worked very hard to crack the case since Dey was gunned down June 11.
"The police spared no efforts in tracking down Dey's killers and have done a highly commendable job." Patil told media persons Monday.
However, the motive behind the killing still eludes the investigators, police said.
Working as Editor (Special Investigations) with city tabloid Mid Day, Dey was shot near his residence in Powai, north-east Mumbai, June 11, sending shockwaves among the media fraternity all over the country.

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