Nearly seven years after journalist Jyotirmoy Dey was shot dead in surburban Mumbai, special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Wednesday convicted gangster Chhota Rajan in the case.
However, the court acquitted former journalist Jigna Vora and another accused, Joseph Paulsen.
Crime journalist Dey, 56, was shot dead on June 11, 2011, when he was on his way home in Powai.
According to the prosecution, Dey was shot on the orders of gangster Chhota Rajan, who was allegedly instigated by another journalist, Jigna Vora, who worked with a different newspaper at the time. The court tried 11 people in the case.
The prosecution said Chhota Rajan’s men — Satish Kalya, Anil Waghmode, Abhijeet Shinde, Nilesh Shendge, Arun Dake, Mangesh Agawane and Sachin Gaikwad — had followed Dey from his mother’s house. Kaliya shot him with a .32 bore pistol near Powai garden, and the gang fled.
Investigators said Chhota Rajan was irked by his portrayal as a smalltime crook in a book Dey was planning to write and therefore, he ordered the killing. The book, titled “Chindi — Rags to Riches” was meant to be a compilation of the stories of 20 gangsters, who had humble origins.
Chhota Rajan, whose real name Rajendra S Nikhalje, hired a contract killer for Rs. 5 lakh, the police said.
The CBI took over the investigation after Rajan was arrested in 2015. The agency said Rajan tried several times between January and March 2011 to stop Dey from writing stories or books about him.
Chhota Rajan was made an accused in the case following his deportation from Indonesia’s Bali in November 2015. The gangster is currently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail.