With 2015 virtually being the year of high-profile crime for Mumbai — from corporate executive Janhavi Gadkar’s drunk-driving incident to Hema Upadhyay’s murder via the Sheena Bora murder case — 2016 will inevitably be the year of trials. While hearings in these cases begin in the coming months, some others that are in various stages could draw to a close this year. Here are the cases to look out for, news junkies and people-watchers.
Chhota Rajan to face trial for J Dey murder
mid-day investigations editor J Dey was shot dead in Powai on June 11, 2011, on his way home. In December 2011, the police filed a 3,055-page chargesheet against gangster Chhota Rajan and nine others, later including journalist Jigna Vora as an accused, saying she provided details about Dey to the hitmen.
mid-day investigations editor J Dey was shot dead on June 11, 2011. (Right) Gangster Chhota Rajan
With Rajan being brought back to India in November, the court has issued a warrant for him to be produced for trial. With six witnesses having testified already, the trial should pick up pace starting January.
Lawyer drink driving case
janhavi Gadkar, 32, drove her car on the wrong side of the Eastern Freeway, allegedly under influence of alcohol, and crashed into an oncoming taxi, killing two. The police claim the corporate lawyer had several pints of beer in two pubs before getting behind the wheel.
The trial should commence this year. Meanwhile, there was uproar after Gadkar was given her licence back. Victim Sabawala’s family, and two Reliance Industries executives who had spent the night drinking with Gadkar — Rahul Dutt and Alok Agarwal — will be key witnesses in the trial.
Mumbai men in ISIS net
The police are still tracking a group of missing Malvani men, at least one of whom is believed to have left the country to join the ISIS, but the first such incident happened last May, when four Kalyan boys reached Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State.
Areeb Majeed is currently lodged in Arthur Road jail
One of them — Areeb Majeed — is back and has been charged with “waging war against an Asiatic power in alliance with the Government of India.” While Majeed has moved the high court for bail, the trial in the lower court will commence this year. Which way the trial goes will set a major legal precedent.
26/11 terror attack
In a big diplomatic coup, India got the US to agree to allow David Coleman Headley to depose as a witness via video conferencing.
Abu Jundal and (right) David Coleman Headley
Double agent Headley, who surveyed the city for the Lashkar-e Toiba masterminds, will depose against alleged terror operative Sayyed Zabiuddin Ansari, alias Abu Jundal.
Sheena Bora murder case
In a sensational case that would rival any that the city has ever seen, the police arrested media honcho Indrani Mukerjea, her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and driver Shyam Rai on August 21 for allegedly murdering her daughter Sheena Bora.
Indrani Mukerjea, her daughter Sheena Bora and Peter Mukerjea
The case also claimed the job of Rakesh Maria as commissioner of police, for his ‘unusual interest’ in the case. His successor Ahmad Javed had to recuse himself after it emerged that he is a close friend of the accused couple. The CBI is now investigating the case, but with Indrani not cracking, and evidence against Peter thin, expect more saucy twists in this sordid tale as the investigation concludes and the trial begins.
Jiah Khan case
Two years after Jiah Khan was found dead, the CBI charged her boyfriend and Bollywood starlet (because, why should the term be restricted to women?) Sooraj Pancholi with abetting her suicide.
Sooraj Pancholi was charged for abetting the suicide of Jiah Khan
Though the CBI did not see any merit in her mother Rabiya Khan’s claim that Jiah was murdered, enough sordid details about domestic abuse have emerged in the charge sheet. Again, expect a charged trial as a mother continues her quest for justice.
Paes and Rhea Pillai case
Starting late 2013, tennis ace Leander Paes and Rhea Pillai have filed several applications throwing muck at each other.
Tennis ace Leander Paes and Rhea Pillai
While Leander made all sorts of accusations against the “bohemian” Rhea, she accused him and his father of breaking into their home and hacking into her computer.
Theirs being a live-in relationship, the court will rule in 2016 about whether Rhea, under the Domestic Violence Act, can claim relief and is eligible for maintenance. The custody battle over their minor daughter is also expected to be resolved this year.