Almost four years after J Dey, one of the city’s most respected crime journalists, was gunned down in broad daylight by bike-borne assailants, allegedly at the behest of gangster Chhota Rajan, the Special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) Court at Arthur Road framed charges against 10 accused, including journalist Jigna Vora, yesterday.
J Dey, who was mid-day’s Editor (Investigations) was gunned down in broad daylight in Powai on June 11, 2011. File pic
Dey, who was Editor (Investigations) of mid-day, was shot dead in Powai on June 11, 2011, when he was on his way home on his motorcycle. In December the same year, the police had filed a 3,055-page chargesheet against 10 accused. A supplementary chargesheet, running into 120-odd pages, against Vora was filed in June 2012.
Judge AL Pansare called out the names of all the accused and read out the charges under which they were being booked under MCOCA and other acts. Vinod Asrani, one of the 11 accused had died of liver cirrhosis in April this year, and the judge told the rest that they were being charged for hatching a conspiracy to kill Dey on the instructions of Chhota Rajan. The gangster had allegedly been upset over two articles written by Dey.
Reading the charges against Vora, the judge said the journalist had helped provide details required for Dey’s identification, like photographs, to the gang, and hence she was an active member of the conspiracy. Among the other accused, the court said that Anil Waghmode, Abhijeet Shinde, Arun Dake, Sachin Gaikwad, Nilesh Shendge, Mangesh Agawane had followed Dey and Satish Kalya had shot him.
Asrani had pointed out Dey to Kalya at a bar in Mulund. Deepak Sisodia had given weapons and bullets to the shooters and Paulson Joseph had given them global SIM cards and R2 lakh in cash to execute the conspiracy. All the accused were also booked for causing disappearance of evidence of offence as they had destroyed the SIM cards.
The court also said that all the accused are members of an organised crime syndicate run by Rajan. All the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges, Vora’s advocate, Jayesh Vithlani, said, “The charges against the accused were framed on Monday and the court has set June 18 as the next date of hearing.”