Gangster Chhota Rajan was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of senior journalist Jyotirmoy Dey on Wednesday by a special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court in Mumbai.
According to The Times of India, Rajan was confident of an acquittal in the murder case owing to a lack of direct evidence. However, a live TV interview in which the gangster acknowledged his involvement in the murder ultimately became his undoing.
"He was confident that he would be acquitted in the J Dey murder case as there was no direct evidence. However, the journalist fraternity stood by the prosecution and gave voice samples of Rajan's live TV interview openly admitting to have ordered Dey's killing, claiming that the latter was trying to tarnish his gang's image," a police officer was quoted as saying in the report. This proved to be the evidence that sealed Rajan's fate.
In a bid to assert his dominance in the underworld, Rajan had made calls to four journalists after Dey's murder and claimed responsibility for the attack, Hindustan Times reported.
The gangster contacted Jitendra Dixit, Sunilkumar Singh, Nikhil Dixit and Aariz Chandra at different times from some foreign countries and "accepted" that he had ordered Dey's murder as he was "miffed" with the senior journalist over his articles and proximity to Dawood Ibrahim, The Free Press Journal reported.
The court observed that Rajan's extrajudicial confession (made out of court and not part of the investigation) was "cogent, trustworthy and reliable", the Hindustan Times reported noted. It went on to add that when Rajan contacted the journalists, he was located hundreds of miles away from India and Mumbai, and hence was a free man with "no fear of Indian law enforcement agencies". The court asserted that Rajan had told the journalists "the truth".
The court also noted that Rajan did not make any attempt to deny his involvement in the senior's journalist's murder once news of the call gained steam. This made the court accept the extrajudicial confession as crucial evidence against the gangster.
As many as 64 cases relating to murder, attempt to murder, extortion were filed against Rajan between 1978 and 2011, The Times of India reported.
The verdict in the J Dey murder case was Rajan's first conviction in India after he was deported to the country following his arrest at Bali airport in Indonesia in 2015.
Dey, 56, was shot by two motorcycle-borne men on 11 June, 2011, in suburban Powai when he was returning home. At the time of his death, he was a senior editor with the tabloid Mid-Day.
The prosecution alleged that the murder was carried out at the behest of Rajan, who was reportedly "unhappy" with the negative reports that Dey had been writing on his health and his diminishing clout in the underworld.
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Updated Date: May 03, 2018 14:38:13 IST