Motive still unknown in Dey murder despite arrests


Staff member

Mumbai: Three days after Mumbai Police announced underworld kingpin Chhota Rajan had ordered the killing of senior crime journalist J. Dey and that they had arrested a seven-member hit team, investigators continue to hunt for the motive behind the murder.

There is considerable confusion and speculation over this aspect of the case but investigators say they are minutely probing every angle. Joint Commissioner of Police Himanshu Roy said: "One of the difficulties was the number of angles to the investigation."

Scouring Dey's e-mails, mobile phone records and collecting all the details of his tour to Scotland, London and Germany from April 27 to May 5 is at the moment vital. Police are on the job of getting all the information they can on the people he met during this visit.

Dey was also planning to go on a junket from his office to the Philippines in the last week of June and in fact had gone to a courier office to send his passport and documents to the Philippines Embassy in New Delhi on June 11, the day he was gunned down in broad daylight.

The police have been talking to the tour operator as well as others who were on that European tour to find out if he did meet anyone during his journey to get a clearer picture. With reports stating that Dey may have met Iqbal Mirchi, an aide of Dawood Ebrahim, in London, police are stating they now suspect the meeting never took place.

One of the reasons why Dey could have been killed is because Rajan feared the journalist was passing on information about him to Dawood's gang.

Rajan, once a key Dawood lieutenant, broke away from the D-gang after the latter's involvement in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts. Since then the two have been bitter enemies, fighting a bloody feud through the years.

While Dawood fled the country, Rajan hid in Thailand. However, in September 2001 Dawood tracked down Rajan in Bangkok with the help of his aide Sharad Shetty, who used his links with a Mumbai-based hotelier Vinod Shetty, to find him.

Rajan escaped but struck back with his associates killing Vinod Shetty in the same year in Mumbai and later Sharad Shetty in 2003.

With Rajan always in fear his whereabouts will be leaked, there is a possibility this is the reason why Dey was gunned down.

The senior crime journalist working for Mid-Day had extensively covered the underworld.

Body to finalise draft

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday set up a six-member Group of Ministers (GoM) to finalise a proposed legislation draft, under pressure from the journalistic community and other quarters about the need for bringing in a comprehensive legislation to prevent recurring attacks on media persons.

Announcing the formation of the GoM to vet and finalise the existing draft of a bill aimed at preventing attacks on journalists, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said the Maharashtra government would table the final draft of the legislation in the state legislature, whose session is slated to begin in mid-July.

The GoM, set up by the state government, comprises senior minister Narayan Rane, R. R. Patil, Harshavarsh Patil, Jaydutt Kshirsagar, Nitin Raut and Vijaykumar Gavit.

While finalising the draft legislation, the GoM will also consider the demand to bring in professionals and others like doctors, film actors, artists and writers in the ambit of the proposed bill and consider the existing provisions in the central legislation governing the Press Council of India. The GoM will submit its report by July 25, Chavan said.

With input from S. Narendra, Correspondent