Mumbai: The police on Friday arrested a senior woman journalist on charges of conspiracy in the Mid Day journalist J Dey murder case. Jigna Vora, the Deputy Bureau Chief of an English daily in Mumbai was sent to a weeks' police custody under the state's Tough Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
Vora, who was questioned by the crime branch in connection with the case several times, will be produced before a MCOCA court later on Friday.
Resident Editor, Asian Age Husain Zaidi said, "We are convinced about Jigna Vora's integrity as a journalist and I know every one of her underworld sources and her conversations with them. We are with her rock solid."
Even as her colleagues rallied around her, Vora was arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch for conspiring, and aiding and abetting the murder of senior Mumbai journalist J Dey.
The Mumbai Crime Branch have named gangster Chhota Rajan as the mastermind of the murder, and have arrested 11 people so far, including the four alleged shooters seen trailing Dey in a CCTV video just before they shot him.
In court, the prosecution stated they had gathered evidence in the form of telephonic records, that show Vora in conversation with her underworld sources. Vora parted with vital information that directly relates to the murder, including J Dey's motorcycle number, his home and office address and his daily schedule and misguided police during interrogation and was non-cooperative.
The defence, however, argued that the police had failed to pinpoint a motive behind Jigna's involvement and had no evidence to book her under the stringent MCOCA laws. Vora had moved with members of the underworld in her capacity as a journalist and that she had fully cooperated with the police.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik in a press conference said, "Arrest is not a punishment, it is only to get more information."
The arrest of a journalist in the J Dey murder case has no doubt come as a shock to the journalistic fraternity. But it has also reignited the controversy surrounding the motive behind the senior crime journalist's murder.
Dey was shot dead outside his house at Powai in Mumbai on June 11, 2011.
The police had arrested seven persons on June 27: Rohee Thangappan Joseph alias Satish Kalya (34); Abhijeet Kasharam Shinde (28); Arun Janardan Dake (27); Sachin Suresh Gaikwad (27); Anil Bhanudas Waghmode (35); Nilesh Narayan Shedge alias Bablu (34); and Mangesh Damodar Agawane (25).
They later arrested Vinod Asrani alias Vinod Chembur, a builder and a bookie who is known to be a close associate of Chhota Rajan; Paulson Joseph, another close aide of the gangster; and Deepak Sisodiya who allegedly supplied the crime weapon.
The police slapped Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) on the arrested accused on July 8.
Later, on September 24, the court hearing the case granted 45-day extension to the police to file the chargesheet in the case. Another extension was given to the police on November 4.