BeyondHeadlines Special Correspondent
Mumbai: With the pressure building up on the Mumbai Police for not nabbing the culprits, the Crime Branch on June 11 released a sketch of a suspected killer of Jyotirmoy Dey, Mid-Day editor (investigations) who was shot dead in a residential area in Powai, a northeast suburb, by unidentified assailants on June 11.
The suspect is said to be between 20 to 25-year-old with dark complexion, medium build, 5.5 feet tall and wearing a blue raincoat. The assailants had come on a motorcycle.
Mumbai Crime Branch officials said that the sketch was prepared following the inputs of several eye witnesses. They said that the CCTV camera outside Dey’s house, which could have given vital clues, failed to capture the murder.
The motive of the murder has not been established so far but it is felt that Dey had recently written a series of stories on the adulteration of diesel in Thane and sought police protection after he received threatening calls. Several journalist are wondering whether there is a massive cover-up in the investigation since Dey was tracking the politician-police link with the oil mafia, which was thriving on a racket worth millions of rupees.
With the police not coming up with anything conclusive in the investigation, there was a massive outpouring of anger against the government as journalists held a silent march to Mantralaya where a delegation of scribes met Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. He called the killing a “shameful act” and promised action.
On June 13, Chavan had claimed that the leads in Dey’s murder case point towards the involvement of the oil mafia. Rejecting the demand for an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Chavan said that the state police should be given a chance to solve the murder case. Chavan also rejected the journalists’ demand for the resignation of Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil and Mumbai Police Commissioner.
The delegation conveyed to the chief minister that the state government should solve the case within two weeks or a bigger agitation would be launched.
Special police teams have been already to probe the murder and said the oil mafia angle would also be probed. The Press Club, an association of journalists, has demanded the resignation of state home minister R.R. Patil and Police commissioner Arup Patnaik.
The killing of Dey also underlines the increasing threat investigative journalists are being subjected to by powerful political and business interests indulging in illegal acts, said Press Club Secretary Sunil Shivdasani.
There has been a wave of incidents of journalists being beaten or threatened by politicians and the local mafia in recent weeks and months. The latest incident in February this year involved no less than Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar who threatened and evicted journalists during a rally in his home constituency.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee earlier called on Chavan and urged him to take appropriate steps on the incidence of attacks on media persons in the state.