Even from call data records, the prosecution had failed to connect Vora with the murder.
Mumbai: A special court on Wednesday awarded life terms to incarcerated gangster Chhota Rajan and eight of his associates for the murder of senior crime journalist Jyoti Nipendrakumar Dey, better know by his byline, J. Dey.
The court acquitted jou-rnalist Jigna Vora and alleged Rajan aide Paul-son Palitara alias Pauls-on Joseph of all charges.
While acquitting Vora, special judge Sameer Adkar observed that even in various extra-judicial confessions, Rajan has nowhere stated that he got Dey murdered because of instigation by Vora or anybody else. Even from call data records, the prosecution had failed to connect Vora with the murder.
Among the convicted are shooter Satish Kaliya, as well as Anil Waghmode, Arun Dake and Mangesh Agavane who had kept a watch on 56-year-old Dey before targeting him in Powai on June 11, 2011.
On the request of special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat, the judge directed that out of the fines recovered from the convicts, `5 lakh should be paid to Dey’s sister Leena. Mr Gharat had argued before the court that Leena was facing mental health issues and after the death of Dey — who was sole breadwinner of the family — and their mother there was nobody to look after her and hence the court should issue direction for payment of some part of the fine to her.
The judge also imposed a total fine of `26 lakh on each convict except Deepak Dalbirsingh Sisodia because he was acquitted of charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) so he would pay `16 lakh as fine. Apart from this the court has also imposed an additional fine of `35,000 on Kaliya under the Arms Act because he was found guilty of firing at Dey.
Two more accused, Nain Singh Bhist and Ravi Ram Rattesar, are still wanted in the case. Though the Dubai police arrested Rattesar in August 2016, he is yet to be brought to India to face trial.
According to the CBI, the reason behind Dey’s murder was that Sadashiv Nikalje alias Chhota Rajan was upset with the journalists’ news articles in which he had shown Rajan in poor light. Apart from that, Dey was writing two books that not only showed Rajan in poor light, but also put archrival Dawood Ibrahim on a higher pedestal.
About 155 witnesses deposed in the case, of which seven were declared hostile. Key witnesses were journalists to whom Rajan spoke after the murder.
Rajan, who attended the court proceedings via video conferencing from Tihar jail in Delhi where he is being kept for security reasons, was emotionless when the court convicted him. He was expressionless even when judge Adkar asked him if he wanted to add anything, apart from what his lawyer had already argued, for leniency in sentence.
After the judge pronounced that he had convicted Rajan, his lawyers Anshuman Sinha and Hasnen Qazi requested the judge to show leniency, as Rajan was a “victim of circumstances”.
“He has three daughters and he is a victim of circumstances so he should be given minimum sentence,” said Mr Sinha.
However, when the judge asked Rajan, “Would you like to say anything in addition to what your lawyer has already said on the point of sentencing?” Rajan replied, “Nahi, theek hai.” (No, it’s ok).
The judge then further said, “I will pass quantum of punishment in the evening at 5 pm.”
To this Rajan again said, “Theek hai.”