J Dey verdict: How Chhota Rajan planned the murder of mid-day journalist
Special public prosecutor Pradip Gharat said that in the book Dey was writing, he was said to have shown Rajan in a bad light, writing about him as 'Chindi Rag to riches', and his rival Dawood Ibrahim in a good light, which had angered Rajan
Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje alias Chhota Rajan alias Seth alias Nana is the main accused in the J Dey murder case who ordered the hit, according to the prosecution.
Special public prosecutor Pradip Gharat said that in the book Dey was writing, he was said to have shown Rajan in a bad light, writing about him as 'Chindi Rag to riches', and his rival Dawood Ibrahim in a good light, which had angered Rajan. And this was his motive to kill Dey, he added.
According to prosecution
As per the probe, J Dey was writing a book on the Underworld, and for this, he was collecting information from all quarters, including from Rajan's rivals. His meetings and interactions with the rivals created suspicion in the minds of Rajan and his associates. This got worse when Dey called Chhota Rajan for a meeting in Philippines and London.
Officers said Rajan warned Dey not to write further, but the latter did not succumb to pressure. He even wrote two articles - "Did Rajan plan hit on Kaskar?... Sources believe the ageing gangster may have plotted the shootout as a desperate attempt to seize the lion's share of the Underworld pie" and "Rajan's gangsters off to pilgrimage". These articles, which had the potential to negatively impact Rajan's illegal activities, provoked the gangster further.
The investigation states that Rajan called up Kalya three times on June 10, and gave the final order. After the murder, Rajan called up journalists and confessed to having killed Dey, according to the prosecution, which added that three confessional statements also said it was Rajan who ordered the hit.
During arguments, Gharat also said that in one conversation intercepted by the police after the murder, Rajan, speaking to (deceased) accused Vinod Asrani's friend Manoj Shivdasani, discussed the killing, saying Dey had crossed limits and that journalist Jigna Vora had also complained about him. The voice in the conversation matched with a sample of Rajan's voice in the central forensic lab, as per the prosecution's case, and this was used as evidence.
The defence, during the trial, maintained that there was no conspiracy and that the case was false and all accused innocent. It also claimed that the revolver was planted, that Rajan never confessed to the murder before journalists, and the prosecution had failed to establish motive.
Motive and evidence
In the book Dey was writing, he was said to have shown Rajan in a bad light, writing about him as 'Chindi Rag to riches', and his rival Dawood Ibrahim in a good light, which had angered Rajan, according to the prosecution, which also had the CCTV footage of the location where the crime took place. Moreover, the bikes used in the crime, which were seized, had matched with those captured on the CCTV, as certified by a US-based expert, who'd deposed in court. The prosecution also relied on the extra-judicial confession of Rajan in which he spoke to TV journalists, and three accused - Dake, Sisodia and Palitara - confessed. The prosecution also matched the call detail record locations of the accused going to Nainital for arms, following Dey and going to his office.
The accused and their alleged role in the shooting
Satish Thangappan Joseph alias Satish Kalya: He played an active role in the conspiracy, procuring firearms from Nainital and getting global SIM cards from one of the accused, which he used to stay in touch with Rajan. From June 8 to 10 (2011), he kept a watch on Dey's house, and on June 11, shot five rounds at him. Rajan paid him Rs 5 lakh for the kill, and he distributed the money among his associates.
Anil Bhanudas Waghmode: He arranged for the motorcycle, and his Qualis was used in the crime. He also accompanied the accused to Nainital to get the revolver. On June 7, 2011, he went to Uma bar at Mulund to identify Dey. He was part of the group that kept a watch on Dey's house, and he followed Dey on June 11 and was present when Kalya shot him. He went to Gujarat, Shirdi, Solapur, Vijapur and other places along with the other accused to evade arrest.
Abhijit Kashinath Shinde: He also accompanied the accused to Nainital to get the gun and kept a watch on Dey's residence. He followed Dey on bike on June 11 and was present when he was shot. After the murder, he took the gun to Jogeshwari highway on his motorcycle, and was paid Rs 25,000 for his part.
Nilesh Narayan Shedge alias Babloo: He also accompanied the accused to Nainital, and watched Dey's house. He too followed Dey and was present at the time of the murder. He got Abhijit Shinde and Arun Dake involved, and was paid Rs 25,000.
Arun Janardhan Dake: He got Sachin Gaikwad involved and used the latter's motorcycle to go to Uma Palace bar on June 7 to identify Dey. He also kept a watch outside Dey's home, and on June 11, rode Gaikwad's motorcycle with Kalya riding pillion. He fled after the crime and also gave a confessional statement.
Mangesh Damodar Agawan: He provided a motorcycle, and rode it from Ghatkopar to Powai, with Waghmode riding pillion. He took Rs 10,000 for the task.
Sachin Suresh Gaikwad: He kept a watch outside Dey's residence on June 10 and 11 and gave his motorcycle for the crime. He drove the Qualis jeep on June 11 and followed Dey from Ghatkopar to Powai.
Deepak Dalbirsingh Sisodia (out on bail): He arranged for the 25 rounds for the revolver used in the crime. He gave a confessional statement.
Polson Joseph Palitara (out on bail): On Rajan's order, he gave two global SIM cards and Rs 2 lakh to Kalya. He introduced Vora to Rajan and kept them in touch.
Jigna Vora: She was in constant touch with Rajan and instigated him against Dey.
Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje alias Chhota Rajan: The mastermind who ordered the hit on Dey
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J Dey trial: Chhota Rajan's next hearing on Jan 19