A Mumbai court on Tuesday reportedly approved the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) plea to interrogate gangster Chhota Rajan in connection with the murder of journalist Jyotirmoy Dey in 2011. The next hearing in the case is posted for 5 February.
Rajan, who is lodged in Delhi's Tihar Jail, was produced before the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court in Mumbai through video conferencing. Special judge AL Pansare gave the CBI permission to interrogate the 54-year-old gangster for 10 days starting 27 January, PTI reported.
Rajan sought time to go through the chargesheet filed against him. "I am kept in a high-security cell and taken out only once in a week, and need 15 days to a month for scanning the charge sheet and engage a lawyer in Mumbai," he told the court.
Former journalist S Balakrishnan, who claimed to be a close friend of Dey, appreciated the development. "It's a very good development that the enquiry is being handed over to the CBI. We had filed a PIL requesting this in Bombay High Court and at that time it was dismissed. He (Dey) was a good friend of mine, I used to respect him. I was shocked by the way he was murdered and why it happened is still a mystery," Balakrishnan told ANI.
Rajan, the former key aide of most-wanted underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, was arrested by the Indonesian Police on 26 October, 2015, and deported to India on 6 November. He was wanted in India, with as many as 70 cases pending against him.
After the Maharashtra government handed over all the cases registered against him to the CBI, the agency registered the first FIR in connection with Dey's murder. On 5 January, it booked Rajan under Sections 302 (murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and various sections of the Arms Act in connection with the J Dey murder case, The Times of India reported.
Dey, a criminal investigative journalist with a daily, was shot dead by four motorcycle-borne men in Mumbai's suburb Powai on 11 June, 2011. He was rushed to a nearby Hiranandani Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
The Mumbai Police had in 2011 arrested and chargesheeted at least 10 people, including Satish Kaliya, Abhijeet Shinde, Arun Dake, Sachin Gaikwad, Anil Waghmode, Nilesh Shendge, Mangesh Agawane, Vinod Asrani, Paulson Joseph and Deepak Sisodia.
The police had filed another charge sheet in 2012 against journalist Jigna Vora, who was later granted bail.
Dey was allegedly murdered on the orders of Rajan, who was upset with two stories Dey had written. Vora was accused of inciting Rajan as Dey was her professional rival.
Rajan was lodged in the Delhi jail after he claimed in court he faced threat to his life in Mumbai.