J Dey murder case verdict: Gangster Chhota Rajan, seven others sentenced to life imprisonment; journalists Jigna Vora and Joseph Paulson acquitted
J Dey had written articles in the months preceding his murder that showed the Chhota Rajan in poor light due to which the gangster got him eliminated, the prosecution had said in the court.
MUMBAI: “Theek hain” (It’s alright) was how gangster Rajendra Nikalje aka Chhota Rajan reacted after a special MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) court here on Wednesday sentenced him to life imprisonment along with eight others, almost seven years after veteran crime journalist Jyotirmoy Dey was shot dead on a rainy afternoon. The court acquitted two, including former journalist Jigna Vora, citing lack of trustworthy evidence.
This is the first time Rajan has been sentenced to life imprisonment. Last year in a case of forged passport he was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment. Ever since, he has been lodged in Tihar jail.
Rajan was deported from Indonesia’s Bali to India in 2015, after which he was made an accused in the case. The CBI said he had offered a supari (contract) of `5 lakh to the killers. A purported tape of him bragging about the supari later emerged, but he denied it was his voice.
Dey (56), the Editor (Investigations) of Mid-day had extensively covered Mumbai underworld for over two decades. He was shot dead on June 11, 2011 near his residence at Powai. Rajan wanted Dey bumped off as he suspected he was working for his archrival Dawood Ibrahim and had shown him (Rajan) in bad light in a couple of articles.
Dey had authored two books: Khallas: An A to Z Guide to the Underworld, and Zero Dial: The Dangerous World of Informers, and was penning his third book, Chindi: Rags to Riches, wherein he had planned to portray the dreaded gangsters of Mumbai. Rajan was particularly upset with the use of word Chindi (petty). He was also upset with J Day’s portrayal of Dawood as superior to other gangsters of Mumbai.
Jigna Vora, 44, broke down in the court when special judge Sameer Adkar announced her acquittal. The CBI had claimed she had complained against Dey to Rajan and had provided his photograph and motorcycle number to help the gangster identify Dey.
■ Rajan hires Satish Kaliya, gives J Dey’s physical description and bike number; omits his identity
■ Kalia puts together 7-man team. The killers, riding two motorcycles, closely trail Dey’s bike before shooting him down. A Qualis follows them
■ Kaliya, riding pillion in one of the bikes, pumps five bullets into Dey with a Czech-made revolver
■ Hitmen panic, tracked down to Solapur, Mumbai, Rameswaram