Bombay High Court yesterday rejected the state government’s application to cancel the bail of Paulson Joseph, an accused in the J Dey murder case. Though Joseph is currently in prison awaiting trial in the case, the cancellation was sought in relation to the murder of Arif Abubakar Sayyed, Iqbal Kaskar’s driver.
The application was moved by Additional Public Prosecutor MM Deshmukh, and rejected by a division bench of justices PV Hardas and AM Thipsay. Speaking to MiD DAY, Deshmukh said, “The court did not find sufficient material to cancel Joseph’s bail.”
The development has serious implications on whether or not Joseph will be granted bail in J Dey’s killing, as even the court hearing the latter case had observed. The prosecution’s contention was that Joseph, a former NCP politician, who is allegedly a member of the Chhota Rajan syndicate, had supplied international SIM cards to the killers involved in both murders.
On July 18, Paulson was granted bail by Special Judge Prithviraj Chavan in Sayyed’s murder. He is still in jail for his role in Dey’s murder. As per a statement provided by Ravi Ram Rattesar, one of Rajan’s aides, Paulson acquired the SIM cards from Dubai.
While card number 447924557105 was found with Umed Ur Rehaman Shaikh - one of those arrested in Sayyed’s murder - 447924557108 was used by Satish Kalia, allegedly the main shooter in Dey’s killing. According to police, both SIMs were used to keep in touch with Rajan and form a set of 10 SIM cards purchased in Dubai for 5,000 Dinars. They were then picked and delivered to Joseph by his driver, Ashok Kunder.
Before granting bail, Judge Chavan had observed that police had not recorded Kunder’s statement and there was nothing to corroborate Rattesar’s claims - apart from statements by Joseph’s wife Mary alias Chitra Paulson Palitra and her brother, alleging that Joseph was involved in real estate and had close links to Rajan.
The judge concluded that one series of SIMs did not by itself prove that Joseph was involved in the logistical support for Sayyed’s murder. Around 9.30 pm on May 17, 2011, two assassins Indralal Khatri and Bilal Mustafa Ali Sayyed had shot Arif Abubakar Sayyed outside the main gate of Kaskar’s building at Pakmodia Street. Two bystanders were also killed in the hit.