BeyondHeadlines Special Correspondent
Mumbai: Rohit Thankappan alias Satish Kalia who was allegedly chosen by Chhota Rajan to kill senior journalist Jyotirmay Dey hails from Poovar, near Thiruvananthapuram, according to police sources.
Seven persons of the Chhota Rajan gang, including Rohit and another sharpshooter, have been arrested by the Mumbai Police. They were produced before a local court which remanded them to police custody till July 4.
It was a bike-borne Kalia who fired five bullets into Dey from the rear left. In the run-up to the incident he had travelled to Nainital to get the .32 revolver and the catridges used in the offence. Rohit was later briefed by Rajan himself on the physical profile of the target (Dey). But Rohit and the others had no clue on who Dey was according to their statement recorded by the police.
Police who were tracking the underworld sharp shooters after the killing discovered Kalia’s presence in the vicinity of Powai when Dey was shot. Clues crystallised into leads when the cops found out that Anil Wagmode, another shap-shooter arrested in the case, had left Mumbai with Kalia on July 11 evening.
Inspector Arun Chavan, who had known Rohit for some time helped track the operatives. A Mumbai Crime Branch team finally nabbed Rohit, Wagmode and Abhijit Shinde from Rameshwaram. The other three ‘members’ of the Dey hit team were Sachin Gaikwad, Arun Doke and Nilesh Shengde.
“Kalia is an ace sharp-shooter, a history sheeter from Kerala. He was charged in a handful of previous cases. His mother, wife and daughter stay at their Poovar residence close to Kerala’s capital city,” senior Crime Branch inspector Arun Chavan said.
A Rajan henchman, Rohit murdered one Mahesh Dewdigha in Khar in 2004 and later that year felled Ashok Shetty, a hotelier in Vashi in New Bombay. It was then that inspector Chavan got Rohit picked up. Previously Rohit was implicated in the killing of Mohan Mohite in 1998, an witness in a separate case, and for an aborted murder attempt on a Khar wine dealer.