[dropcap]A[/dropcap] seized conversation, where gangster Chhota Rajan claims to have accepted responsibility for killing senior journalist J Dey, forms part of the evidence against him in the supplementary chargesheet filed by the CBI. The assumed conversation took place between Rajan and a relative of now-deceased accused Vinod Asrani, less than a month after Dey was shot by bike-borne assailants near his Powai residence on June 2011. The conversation had also been part of the earlier chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Police against journalist Jigna Vora, another accused in the case. The CBI, in its present chargesheet, has claimed that the authenticity of the intercepted communication has been verified by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory. It states that the conversation proves Rajan’s involvement as his voice samples match the intercepts.
The dramatic J. Dey murder case brought to the fore the nexus more clearly than other occasions. Having covered the crime beat for around three decades, Dey had naturally developed affiliations in legitimate as well as illegitimate way in his working life. Bootleggers, matka-den operators are regular paymasters of crime reporters residing in respective areas. Visionless and routine crime reporters thrive on their money and retire peacefully. Dey-like ambitious reporters aim high and possess heavy appetite. Their morals become flexible in the initial period of their career and later vanish. Switching of loyalties is not a great affair, when it comes to money. It may not be as frequent in underworld as it is in journalism.
The police told the Sessions Court that journalist Jigna Vora, then an accused in J Dey murder case, had fuelled the dispute between gangster Chhota Rajan and the slain journalist, which likely led to the killing. Crime Branch, which was investigating the Dey murder case, claimed that Vora was aware of the issues between Rajan and Dey, but Mumbai police could not produce any substantial evidences against Vora and finally she got bail. Since then, the never ending saga on Dey’s murder is unfurled in episodes.
During the investigations, media made police authorities’ life miserable and Home Department was always on their radar. To control media pressure, police traced those reporters who have spoken to Chhota Rajan or any other underworld don. Based on their published interviews and reports, police called these journalists and asked questions in the name of investigations. They were harassed and warned, and that’s how, the story was twisted in many angles. Reporters gave excuses, but police made them stand, arrested some and asked them to give explanation in court. In that series, Jigna became victim of circumstances and trapped by police. Police Department was aware that Jigna is not at fault. However, she was made scapegoat to control the nuisance of media. Surprisingly, when Jigna got arrested, no media came forward to protest against her. Rather, J Dey’s murder investigations news took a back seat. Now, suddenly J Dey got news space.
The police earlier claimed that Vora had called Chhota Rajan 36 times before J Dey’s murder. The chargesheet shows that there were only three calls between Chhota Rajan and Vora, all made for an interview that Rajan gave to her for the The Asian Age newspaper. Vora had sent emails to Rajan containing the photographs and residential address of Dey and the registration number of his motorcycle. The chargesheet does not mention any such emails. Police requested Google to provide her inbox details but under privacy act Google refused to obey the same. Crime Branch officers told the media that Vora abruptly booked tickets to Sikkim on June 2011 and took off without a sanctioned leave, knowing well that Dey was to be murdered. Vora had travelled to Sikkim along with six friends. All tickets were booked in the first week of April. She had also given an advance notice of leave to her editor. However, police didn’t include these records in the chargesheet. The police claimed that there was professional rivalry between Dey and Vora and that was her motive to get him killed. Dey wrote that Dawood had left Pakistan. Vora wrote that Dawood was hiding in Pakistan. Bizarrely, the police have used these two stories to argue that there was rivalry between the two journalists. The smear campaign against Vora went to the extent of accusing her of being an extortionist. Nobody asked the police for the evidence before publishing such claims. Reports have been published about her that she was mediating between two builders. In the final chargesheet, the police have not mentioned a word on any such mediation activities. However, the objective has already been achieved.
After four years, the CFSL report received in May 2016 is part of the chargesheet, stating that the voice is ‘the probable voice of the person (Rajan)’ matching with the specimen. The CBI had taken permission from the special MCOCA court to take a voice sample of Rajan, who is lodged in Tihar Jail in Delhi since his deportation from Bali, Indonesia, in November last year. The chargesheet, however, does not have emails or other evidence on exchange of emails between Rajan and Vora, allegedly through which details of Dey were shared by her. Rajan had told journalists after the murder that Vora provided him with details of Dey’s motorcycle number, his photograph, address, etc. through emails. The CBI’s claim is that Dey was killed by Rajan over the two books he was writing. In its chargesheet, the CBI has details of exchange between two publishers and Dey on his books. Now, only God, Rajan or Dey can tell the truth, else this murder case will revolve with saga like daily soaps.
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