The Mumbai Crime Branch is recording the statement of a journalist who had been with Jyotirmoy Dey at a meeting with Vinod Asrani alias Vinod Chembur, a Chhota Rajan aide, four days before Dey’s murder. “He is an important material witness for the prosecution. His statement is being recorded,” a senior Crime Branch officer said here on Monday.
Chembur, a bookie and a builder, was arrested by the Crime Branch on Saturday and remanded in police custody by a local court till July 7. He is the eighth accused to be arrested in the case.
Chembur is known to have been a financier for Rajan, but Crime Branch sources claimed he did not pay the seven accused money for killing Dey on June 11.
It is now believed that the June 7 meeting at a local bar is an important link in the case. “It was Chembur who called the meeting. He called up the other journalist asking him to bring Dey with him. He also called Dey, asking him to come. Apparently, Dey and the other journalist knew Chembur. The three may have been meeting regularly,” a senior officer said.
“Five persons met that night at the bar for nearly two hours between 10.30 p.m. and 12.30 a.m. Three of them were Chembur, Dey and the fellow journalist.”
Police refused to divulge the identity of the other two persons. It is believed that Dey had a phone conversation with Chhota Rajan during that meeting.
“According to the statement given by Dey’s wife, which was recorded soon after June 11, she said that he [Dey] looked worried when he returned home after that meeting. She also said that he did not usually drink much, but that night he was heavily drunk,” an officer said.
It was during the same meeting that Kalya, the person accused of having shot Dey, was called to the bar so he could identify his target. Kalya sent the other two accused, Anil Waghmode and Arun Dake, instead. “It looks like Chembur was aware of the plan. He might have also been partly aware of the motive as well. He was the one who signalled to Anil and Arun, showing them the target,” the officer said.
Police now believe that Rajan was being fed wrong information about Dey and the needle of suspicion is being pointed at Chembur. “With whatever we have investigated till now, there is no question of raising doubts over Dey’s integrity. Maybe wrong information was being fed about Dey,” a senior officer said. He said the two articles written by Dey, which were thought to be trigger points that incurred the displeasure of Rajan, were not very offensive either.
The Crime Branch has also questioned D.K. Rao, a Pune-based businessman and alleged aide of Rajan, after arresting seven persons in the case. After having been missing over the past few days, Rao was traced and questioned on Sunday and Monday. A local court on Monday extended the police custody of the seven held in the case till July 7. The Crime Branch told the court that the investigation was in progress and that, with the arrest of Chembur, they wanted to cross-check the information provided by them. Hindu