A special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Tuesday adjourned the trial in the mid-day journalist J Dey murder case till November 23 after it was told by Mumbai Police that the state government has handed over all cases against underworld don Chhota Rajan to CBI.
"The case is adjourned on the ground that the government has handed over (J Dey) case to CBI. The copy (of notification) is not yet received and defence (advocate) has no objection. In view thereof (the case) is adjourned to November 23 for recording of evidence," observed MCOCA Special Judge A L Pansare during proceedings in the case.
The court directed Mumbai Police to produce the copy of the notification at the earliest. However, the judge sought to know if the entire trial is transferred or further investigation is transferred to CBI.
"CBI may carry out further investigation but what about the present trial," the court asked. "Make an application why the trial should not proceed today, there should be some reason," the judge said when Assistant Police Commissioner Sunil Deshmukh told the court that the case has been transferred to CBI.
When Deshmukh submitted that since the case has been taken over by CBI, the matter has to go to the special CBI court, judge Pansare said that CBI court notification was not required. "No law says that CBI-investigated case has to go to CBI court," the judge said.
Rajan was arrested at Bali airport on October 25 on the basis of an Interpol Red Corner notice after he reached there from Australia. He was deported to India on November 6.
On the eve of his deportation, the Maharashtra government had handed over all the cases against the underworld don to CBI because of its expertise in "handling transnational crimes".
Dey was shot dead in suburban Powai on June 11, 2011 by assailants who followed him on motorcycles. Scribe Jigna Vora was accused of passing on key information like number plate of the slain journalist's motorcycle and his address to Rajan. The police had arrested Vora in November 2011. She was granted bail in July 2012.
Mumbai Police had filed a charge sheet in December 2011 against other 10 arrested accused. Later, a separate charge sheet was filed against Vora.
According to the police, Rajan, who was upset with two articles written by Dey purportedly portraying him in a bad light, had ordered the journalist's killing.
As per the 3,055-page charge sheet, Vora allegedly instigated the underworld don to execute Dey owing to the professional rivalry. The court had framed charges against 11 accused, including Vora, on June 8, this year.
The accused have been charged with being part of the underworld gang run by Rajan and hatching a conspiracy and subsequently killing Dey.