Charges framed in scribe murder case

Four years after investigative journalist Jyotirmoy Dey was shot dead, a special court on Monday framed charges against 10 people, including fellow reporter Jigna Vora, who allegedly conspired with underworld don Chhota Rajan to eliminating the veteran scribe.

Additional sessions judge A L Pansare, who presides over the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court, read out the charges against the 10 accused after they pleaded “not guilty”.

Dey, 56, the editor (investigations) of Mid-Day, was shot dead on June 11, 2011, at Powai here, purportedly at the behest of Chhota Rajan, the South-East Asia-based fugitive underworld don instigated by Vora, the then deputy bureau chief of the Mumbai edition of The Asian Age.

Initially, 10 people were arrested and charge-sheeted. Vora was arrested on November 25, 2011, and subsequently another charge sheet was filed.

Of the total 11 accused, one Vinod Chembur alias Vinod Asrani, resident of Chembur, who was the main financier and co-conspirator, passed away on April 11 this year from multiple ailments. He was a bookie and a property developer.

Besides Vora, others against whom charges were framed included the seven people involved in reconnaissance and shooting—Rohit Thangappan Joseph alias Satish Kalya, Abhijeet Kasharam Shinde, Arun Janardhan Dake, Sachin Suresh Gaikwad, Anil Bhanudas Waghmode, Nilesh Narayan Shendge alias Bablu, Mangesh Damodar Agawane. The others are Deepak Sishodia, the Dehradun youth who supplied the weapon, and Sunil Paulson, who provided the SIM cards used in the commission of the crime.

“The charges were read out,” said lawyer Santosh Deshpande, who represents some of the accused, including the main shooter Satish Kalya.

MCOCA court and Crime Branch sources said the charges were framed under Sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 201 (causing disappearing of evidence) and 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code, Sections 325 and 327 of Arms Act and Sections 3(1)(i), 3 (2) and 3 (4) of the MCOCA.

The case has now been posted for June 18.

Vora is accused of passing on key information like the number plate of the slain journalist’s motorcycle and his address to the fugitive don. According to the police, Chhota Rajan, who was upset with two articles written by Dey, which purportedly portrayed him in bad light, had ordered the killing.

Dey's death became a major political issue, with then Maharashtra home minister R R Patil personally overseeing the probe on a regular basis.

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