Dey murder: Cops hold 7, probe scribe's recent Europe tour

Sixteen days after crime reporter Jyotirmoy Dey was shot dead here, Mumbai Police's Crime Branch on Monday claimed to have cracked the murder case with the detention of seven people.

"We have cracked the case. Seven five people have been detained from the state as well as from outside the state," a senior Crime Branch official said.

Home Minister R R Patil said three people were arrested from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, one from Solapur and three from Mumbai.

"All seven are from Maharashtra," he told PTI here.

"The Mumbai police commissioner and joint commissioner of police have informed me about the development," Patil said.

He identified two of the accused as Satish Kalya and Anil Waghmode.

"I have announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for the Mumbai Crime Branch team for exemplary work they have done in the case," Patil said.

Meanwhile, a police source said that an underworld link was surfacing in the incident and is being verified.

J Dey, 56, working with the city-based English tabloid Mid-Day, was shot dead by four motorcycle-borne assailants in suburban Powai on June 11.

Dey was shot at from close range, reportedly by professionals, and a total of 5 bullets entered his body.

The murder of the veteran scribe had sent shockwaves and the Mumbai police were probing the case from all angles.

The police had also examined Dey's laptop and a hard disk besides some important documents to get a lead in the sensational murder.

Various journalists' associations have been demanding a CBI probe, but it was ruled out by the Maharashtra government

The Bombay High Court had recently directed the police to file a report by July 6 on the progress of investigations into Dey's murder.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Anil Mahabole, who was in-charge of Azad Maidan division in south Mumbai, was also shunted out to the Local Arms Control Room in suburban Naigaon after his name cropped up in the case.

Counted among the handful of journalists with extensive information networks within the underworld, Dey had established himself as one of the foremost authorities among reporters on the working of the Mumbai gangsters, writing two books on the subject, 'Zero Dial: The Dangerous World of Informers in 2010 and earlier, Khallas'.

Dey, who worked with Hindustan Lever Ltd till 1994, was also a freelance photojournalist for some time. He joined The Indian Express in 1996, and soon gained access into the Customs Department, and later, into the underworld.

Among those who covered the "encounter killings" in the 1990s, he saw, and reported, first-hand the systematic decimation of Mumbai's underworld. Recently, he repeatedly wrote that the underworld was back in action in Mumbai, in new forms and with new interests in the globalised world.

From 1996 to 2004, Dey was a consistent byline on the pages of The Indian Express, also writing a weekly column on the workings of the underworld, titled "Notes From The Underworld", in which he wrote about dons and their molls, the well-known gangsters as well as the lesser-known goons.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a former policeman known as an "encounter specialist" said Dey's reports were so accurate that encounter reviews often depended on his reportage.

In the last few months, J Dey had targeted the alleged oil mafia operating in Maharashtra, off the coast of Mumbai. Following a series of reports he had most recently written about an alleged Rs 10,000-crore scam involving pilfered oil from neighbouring states, mainly Gujarat and MP, which is allegedly smuggled into Mumbai through the state's porous coastal belt. Following the recent shootout in Mumbai's Pakmodia Street, in which the bodyguard-cum-driver of Dawood Ibrahim's brother Iqbal Kaskar was shot, Dey had also written about the possible conspiracy behind the attack.

A colleague at Mid-Day said Dey was gathering material for a report on the Dawood stronghold in south Mumbai, allegedly handled by his sister Haseena Parker. He was also reportedly preparing to expose the involvement of a senior police officer in a real estate dispute in Mumbai.

As part of its probe into the murder of senior investigative journalist J Dey, the Mumbai Police Crime Branch identified members of a group Dey was travelling with while on a "mysterious tour" to Europe shortly before his death.

According to the police, between May 28 and June 5, Dey had toured Scotland, London and Germany. However, the exact purpose of the trip is yet to be ascertained. "It struck us as a bit strange that Dey would go alone on a leisure trip to Scotland, London and Germany. In order to verify the details of his visit and what he did at these locations, we have identified the tour agency that made the bookings. Through the agency, we have also now identified members of the group Dey was travelling with. We are attempting to get a clear picture of the nature of Dey's tour from them," said a Crime Branch officer, who did not wish to be named.

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