Gangster Chhota Rajan and eight others convicted for killing senior journalist Jyotirmoy Dey were sentenced to life imprisonment by a special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court in Mumbai. However, Jigna Vora, a fellow journalist, who was alleged to have instigated Rajan against Dey was acquitted by the Mumbai court.
The prosecution in the case has demanded the maximum punishment for the convicts, saying that J Dey was a journalist, who represented the fourth pillar of democracy. Rajan is lodged in Tihar Jail in Delhi after his deportation to India following his arrest in Indonesia in October 2015.
This is the first major conviction for Rajan since he was deported to India following his arrest at Bali airport in Indonesia in 2015.
Earlier last year, Rajan was convicted by a court in Delhi and sentenced to seven years imprisonment in a case of fake passports.
Mid-Day crime reporter Jyotirmoy Dey - or J Dey, as he was better known was allegedly shot by a seven-member gang affiliated to notorious gangster Chhota Rajan in Powai on June 11, 2011.
Sister wants death sentence
J Dey sister Lina hopes that the accused are convicted and sentenced to death. "I want...all the accused who aided and abetted in killing my brother get a maximum punishment of death and nothing less than that. Only then will I find peace," Lina told TOI.
Dey had written several reports on the Mumbai underworld and had reportedly been working on a story that would focus largely on Chhota Rajan, calling him "chindi" (a small fry).
There was a sensational twist to the case when police arrested Vora, then Deputy Bureau Chief of The Asian Age, Mumbai, on November 25, 2011, besides 10 others. It emerged during the probe that Vora was allegedly in regular contact with Chhota Rajan and provoked him to eliminate Dey.
The Special MCOCA Court had in June 2015 framed charges against all the 10 accused. They are: Rohit Thangappan Joseph alias Satish Kalya (28); Abhijeet Kasharam Shinde (27); Arun Janardhan Dake (27); Sachin Suresh Gaikwad (35); Anil Bhanudas Waghmode (35); Nilesh Narayan Shendge alias Bablu (34); Mangesh Damodar Agawane (25) (all who conducted recce and/or were shooters); Jigna Vora; weapon supplier Deepak Sisodia (28) of Dehradun; Joseph Paulson (43).
The trial restarted after Rajan's extradition. The CBI took over the case and a supplementary chargesheet was filed in 2016. The CBI said Dey was writing two books that not only showed Rajan in poor light, but also put arch rival Dawood Ibrahim on a higher pedestal. About 155 witnesses deposed, of which seven were declared hostile. Key witnesses were journalists to whom Rajan spoke after the murder.
The first charge sheet filed in the case in 2011 named Satish Kaliya, Abhijeet Shinde, Arun Dake, Sachin Gaikwad, Anil Waghmode, Nilesh Shendge, Mangesh Agawane, Vinod Asrani, Paulson Joseph and Deepak Sisodia (all arrested) as accused.
The final arguments in the Special Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA) Court had started in February and concluded early last month.