MUMBAI: A Mumbai Special court on Wednesday convicted gangster Chhota Rajan along with ten others in the murder of journalist Jyotirmoy Dey. Paulson Joseph and journalist Jigna Vohra have been acquitted in the matter. The final arguments in the Special Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA) Court had started in February and concluded early last month. According to investigators, Chhota Rajan had ordered Dey's murder.
J Dey had extensively covered Mumbai underworld for over two decades before he was shot dead in broad daylight in suburban Powai on June 11, 2011 while he was on his way home.
The investigations were initially conducted by police but were taken over by the Crime Branch due to its ramifications. During the trial, the prosecution examined 155 witnesses while eight of them turned hostile.
The CBI court framed charges against Chhota Rajan in the case in 2016. According to a supplementary charge sheet by the CBI, Rajan had Dey killed because he was miffed with some articles written by him, and also because a planned book of his portrayed Rajan as a chindi (petty) criminal. Dey had written two books: "Khallas: An A to Z Guide to the Underworld" and "Zero Dial: The Dangerous World of Informers". He was writing his third book, "Chindi: Rags to Riches".
Rajan was arrested at Bali airport in Indonesia on October 25, 2015, and was deported to India. Rajendra S Nikhalje alias Chhota Rajan is currently lodged in Tihar Central Jail in Delhi.
The first charge sheet filed in the case in 2011 named Satish Kaliya, Abhijeet Shinde, Arun Dake, Sachin Gaikwad, Anil Waghmode, Nilesh Shendge, Mangesh Agawane, Vinod Asrani, Paulson Joseph and Deepak Sisodia (all arrested) as accused.
A separate charge sheet was filed against journalist Jigna Vora for allegedly instigating Rajan against Dey owing to her own professional rivalry. Police arrested Jigna Vora in November 2011 and it had reportedly emerged in the probe that Vora was allegedly in regular contact with Chhota Rajan and had provoked him to eliminate Dey.
(With agency inputs)