The Bombay High Court has admitted a PIL filed by a lawyer VP Patil demanding a CBI enquiry into senior journalist Jyotirmoy Dey’s murder. The court ordered Mumbai police to produce a status report of the probe on next Tuesday and said that state’s advocate general should be present that day in court. A group of journalists have demanded that the J Dey murder case should be handed over to the CBI as they suspect that vested interest groups among the Mumbai police force are likely to hamper the investigation in this case.
Another petition filed by social activist Ketan Tirodkar was also clubbed with VP Patil’s petition and a lawyer representing the journalists association in Mumbai was allowed to intervene in the matter. The next hearing on this will happen on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the police said they were questioning oil mafia kingpin Mohammad Ali in connection with Dey’s murder. Mohammad Ali is already under arrest in connection with another case, and is under treatment at Nair hospital. Senior officers said about 50 persons have been questioned so far.
The police have identified five witnesses to the shooting at Powai and have taken down their statements . These people were spotted on the CCTV camera at Powai garden . Mumbai police had detained three suspects in the case on Wednesday . But two of them were released after extensive questioning late at night on Wednesday as no concrete evidence was found. Sources said one person is being still questioned. Though the police have refused to officially comment on the probe, some officials have cited the detentions on Wednesday as a major breakthrough. They, however, still maintain that some headway has been made in the case.
The police, who were first probing the role of the oil and real estate mafias in the killing, on Wednesday hinted that a sandalwood smuggler based in south Mumbai might have given the supari (contract) for Dey’s elimination . Dey, sources said, was working on a story that would have exposed him. Demanding CBI inquiry petitioner Patil said, “Like fake encounters in the past, there was a possibility of fake investigations in this case.” Another petitioner, Ketan Tirodkar , argued that nexus between police and underworld was suspected and a CBI probe into Dey’s murder was justified.
The Press Club and Marathi Patrakar Parishad argued that it was well known that Dey was reporting on an alleged nexus between the underworld and Mumbai Police as well as the oil mafia. They apprehended that this was the reason for the brutal murder of Dey. Consequently , it is in the larger interests of the public, and the journalistic community in particular, that this case be investigated by CBI, counsel Navroz Seervai argued.
Both intervenors said they had already made a written representation to the chief minister in this regard , but their demand had not been considered so far. They argued that the shocking incident of Dey’s murder is an indication of the threats, extenuating circumstances and hostile environment within which journalists work. They are vitally affected by this particular case and deeply concerned and interested in the thorough investigation of the matter. Economic Times