News Story

Advocate Sushan Kunjuraman's 11 questions to Mumbai Police

by Vaidehi Sachin (Dec_01_15_2011)

dey2.jpgHere are 11 questions asked by Advocate Sushan Kunjuraman, a renowned criminal lawyer who is handling many important cases including Preeti Jain’s case against Madhur Bhandarkar. 
He has many doubts in Jigna Vora’s arrest who is accused of conspiracy and murder of senior crime reporter J Dey.

1. As the murder was very simple, i.e. tracing the target and killed them. But after six months, why Mumbai police failed to establish the motive behind the murder?

2.  To justify their act of arresting Jigna, police says they found her involvement in the murder of senior scribe. But here question arises, why they took six months to link her with the murder?

3. She is not a hardcore criminal to bear the third degree torture and remain silent. She is white collared professional, then why crime branch is not recovering other two mobiles by asking her?

4. Mumbai police had not collected concrete evidences (like the Laptop, four Mobile phones) before arresting her. Now, they are trying hard to collect the evidences. Police are establishing crime reporter involvement in crime reporter’s murder case and sensationalizing the issue. Is it not that they are diverting media’s attention instead of doing serious investigation?

5.  Mumbai Police is helplessly relying on the unreliable and inadmissible oral statements of other person accused in the same murder case. Why so much believe on person who is wanted from last three decades?

6.  Mumbai Police claims to gather evidences against Jigna, only after confronting the arrested accused. It means they fabricated and blend the evidences to nail Ms. Vora. Will these fabricated evidences be able to stand on the floor of the honorable Criminal Court?

7. How one can believes the police theory that a man like Chhota Rajan who runs syndicate had to rely on the information provided by Jigna only?

 8. Why the entire journalism fraternity is not supporting her and raising objection on her arrest except her Boss, Hussain Zaidi?

9. What Criminal Tracking Network System was doing before the J Dey’s murder and while Jigna was transmitting the information to the Chhota Rajan? 

10. Why the IB is totally silent on this hi-profile murder case?

11. Either, Chhota Rajan is indirectly implicating an innocent Jigna for his hidden motive or police is accusing her by falsely taking Chhota Rajan name. Will this come in front after the judgement in the case?

The above questions are unanswerable by the Mumbai Police but the answers to the above questions will surface on the floors of the Criminal Court and finally, the hon. Criminal Court will find the contentions and claims of the Mumbai Police false and concocted and then, innocent Jigna Vora will be declared 'Innocent' and will be 'Acquitted with Pride' but whether that pride will restore her jail days is under question mark.

My take 
It was great solace to see that the Resident Editor of the Asian Age Hussain Zaidi stand by his colleague, saying she is innocent. Jigna Vora was arrested in the J Dey murder case on 25th November. Since then, there were so many speculations. She was called several times for investigations but there were no rumours about it in the media. All of sudden everything started going against the scribe. Police recently said Jigna used fake email ID to send mails to gangster. Why police has not traced the IP address of those PC or Laptop from where mails had sent, why the forensic investigation of those transactions had not been done? Why police is cooking up new stories everyday about Jigna? What is the fact? Is it an attempt to convey media that police can even screw you (journalists) if you put pressure on them? Why police is implicating a journalist with no substantial evidences. Why media is quite? Why there is no chaos to support Jigna? 

All these years, Jigna covered crime and courts - but now she found herself in real trouble. She wrote about court hearings, judgements and covered crime stories. Vora, 37, now has been remanded by a court and is behind bars. She is deputy bureau chief of the Mumbai edition of The Asian Age. She had also worked with the Mumbai Mirror and The Free Press Journal. She had covered several important crime and court happenings like the 26/11 attacks, judgement of the 1993 serial blasts, etc. As Zaidi mentioned, she is a woman of impeccable integrity and her innocence will be proved. We have full faith in her honesty and we believe she has done no wrong. The truth will definitely come out in the court proceedings. We believe in the Indian judiciary and we believe Jigna Vora as well. All crime reporters know her for years and some of them even support her but no one is ready to come in front. I am happy at least her editor Hussain Zaidi said “I know her from last seven years. What I feel is she is being wrongly targeted. Truth will soon come out and her innocence will be proved”.

I am scared. What if she really comes out clean and her innocence is proved? What will happen to the implications? A single parent, Jigna shifted to Mumbai from Gujarat in 2002 with her son, after separating from her husband. The son, who lived with her until early this year, is now studying at a boarding school. A law graduate, Jigna covered courts and crime as her main beat. Officials of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch had their first suspicion about arrested The Asian Age journalist Jigna Vora, when they found several hostile SMSes from Jigna's number in J. Dey's cell phone a few days before his murder. Journalist fraternity in Mumbai has reacted with shock, restraint and suspicion to the arrest of Jigna Vora for her alleged involvement in J Dey murder case. We do not know what evidence the police have. The police, on investigating this case, had suspected Jigna’s involvement. Without naming her, they had planted a few stories in newspapers saying some journalist was involved in the crime. When Jigna was called for investigations, she contacted people and told them she is being framed. What everyone knows is that, as a source, she used to speak to Chhota Rajan. However, some others from the fraternity have backed the arrested journalist and questioned the police action. The arrest has raised more questions than answers.

Rajan has got his huge network of informers and workers in Mumbai. If he wanted information about J Dey, he would have got it from his own sources and not depended on Jigna. Why would he rely on a journalist and risk his conspiracy being exposed? Another thing, I am wondering is whether Jigna is being framed and is being used by the police for their vested interest. The police are not able to trace the motive despite so many arrests. They are depending on the endorsement of Chhota Rajan to justify their theory regarding the killing of Dey.

Even now, it is not late to hand over the case to the CBI. At least, it has its own network with Interpol and it is possible for them to find out the truth about the murder of Dey. It would have been better if the police had given the proof or released the conversation between Jigna and Rajan. Why Rajan would depend on her when he has his own, committed network? During the investigation, police came across a few not-very-friendly-messages sent from Vora’s cellphone to Dey, but that can be their own personal spat which has got nothing to do with the murder.

Well, Vora may not be very fond of Dey due to professional rivalry but how is that going to prove her conspiracy against Dey? Vora has been booked under stringent sections of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). It was none other than Chhota Rajan's phone calls after J Dey's murder that ultimately led to journalist Jigna Vora's arrest. There are four to five such people (who were called by Rajan), including journalists and businessmen, all of whom have been made witnesses in the case. Based on the witnesses' statements, officials who had been questioning Jigna over the past few months picked her up from her Ghatkopar home around 10.30 am on that day. Her cell phone was immediately confiscated along with her computer. According to the officials, some technical evidence has been retrieved from the hard disk of her computer and her cell phone records. It is a sensitive and murky case involving two journalists. So far, the Crime Branch has arrested 10 persons accused in the case, all of whom were supposed to be charge-sheeted last month. The process was stalled as the cops came across fresh evidence implicating Jigna and requested the court to grant them 30 days' extension, which the court accepted.

When Vora was produced in the court, she broke down and cried inconsolably but on 26th November during the interrogation, she was calm and composed. Meanwhile police on 26th searched Jigna's apartment in Ghatkopar to collect evidences relating to the murder. Recently, after a city tabloid published a story mentioning that crime branch will take action against a senior reporter, Vora was very upset with the news and was preparing herself for the arrest. It’s a very tough situation for the journalist fraternity as we all who know her very well, but we cannot ignore the crime she did (or for which she has been framed).

The police have confiscated all mediums of communications, such as her cell phone and computer, which could have possibly been used to pass on information to the crime syndicates. But till now, they have not produced any evidence in court to support their allegations, which gives strong indication that they have no concrete evidence against her.

Is she innocent?
Arrest of Vora shocked the entire fraternity of journalists. This is first of its kind case where Journalist has become a conspirator in another journalist’s murder. They both were long time associate & trusted colleagues. Only relevant court inquiry will be able to bring out ground truths. Only some parts of truth have come out whereas many things are still under the carpets of secrecy. Earlier, R.R. Patil told that the journalist was killed probably because he was thought to have shared information about one gang with a rival group. J Dey’s articles and the information had led to his death. 
As Chhota Rajan, a prime suspect in the murder of Dey has claimed of regretting the killing, but said he ordered the shooting in a fit of rage. The gangster recently told a news channel from an undisclosed location that he was miffed with Dey for writing articles about him. Rajan is the former key aide of Dawood Ibrahim who is also on the wanted list of Interpol for organised crime and counterfeiting. Rajan parted ways with Dawood Ibrahim, after the 1993 Mumbai bombings, blaming him for anti Hindu and anti national acts. It is speculated that religious differences between the two - Rajan is a Hindu Mahar and Dawood, a Muslim - contributed to the split.

Our shameless Home Minister -- a puppet of Sharad Pawar -- has miserably failed to control the crime rate in Maharashtra. Small-undeveloped state like Assam has 7 per cent conviction rate and developed state like Maharashtra has only 4 per cent conviction rate. R R Patil should stop making tall claims. With increase in investigative journalism, media personnel have become more prone to attacks by goons and underworld dons who are known to have links with politicians. It is not worth investigation in J Dey case as it will be done by state police because the investigation will take years and after that will be closed down with the reason of insufficient evidence. Transferring or suspending odd policeman is not work enough. Present CM is known for his honesty and should make possible efforts to go in depth of the case and assign the case to CBI. Transferring the case to the CBI will help in an impartial investigation without any fear from local politicians. He should suggest NCP to step down RR Patil and replace him with some other person. Who so ever will come next, will always keep the fact in mind that why RR had to quit the position. This will be lesson for Patil’s successor that how to run a home ministry with dignity. 

Chavan hinted that Mumbai Police have made headway in the case. He wants to give sufficient time to police before considering other options. Here my question to CM is that, how much time he will allot them? Dey was shot dead by four unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants near his residence at Powai. Hope this case too won’t land up like Kurla’s serial rape and murder case or any other murder cases in Mumbai. They catch some innocent and present them to media and shut the chapter.

Dey was a journalist and had right to write about the underworld happenings. He was writing many articles against them. Few insecure gangsters even called Dey and asked him whether he had any personal problems with them. Dey promised to meet Rajan in London. But, Rajan later came to know that Dey was in touch with another gangster there. This action made him furious. Dey was widely believed to have been investigating the alleged nexus between the underworld, police and the oil mafia.

Later on, after tremendous pressure from media, the Mumbai police claimed to have cracked the case with the arrest of seven men, including two belonging to the Chhota Rajan gang. The hit, which sent shockwaves across the country, was ordered by Chhota Rajan and executed by Rohit Thangappan alias Satish Kalia.

Vora was allegedly in touch with fugitive gangster Chhota Rajan, an accused in the case, and gave him the registration number of Dey’s bike along with his office and residence addresses. This information was suspected to have been used by the alleged killers to survey and lay the groundwork for the murder, the crime branch has alleged. Vora, who was questioned by the crime branch in connection with the case several times, has produced before a Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court and was sent to police custody till December 1. Ten people, including Rohit Thangappan Joseph alias Satish Kalya and his associates Abhijeet Shinde, Arun Dake, Sachin Gaikwad, Anil Waghmode, Nilesh Shendge, Mangesh Agawane, Vinod Asrani alias Vinod Chembur, Paulson Joseph and Deepak Sisodia, all members of the Rajan gang, have so far been arrested in connection with the case.  
I am still confused, how a journalist can go till this extent? Jigna's name had surfaced a month ago in the murder case after which she deleted her Facebook account and Black Berry messenger pin to avoid media glare. She is alleged to be close to the major underworld gangs especially Chhota Rajan, Abu Salem and Ravi Pujari and Mumbai Police’s ‘Encounter specialist’ Daya Nayak. She was ex Mumbai Mirror (2005-2007) and Mid Day employee. Jigna was also close to a Bollywood actor who was once booked under TADA. She was a court reporter and it was Dey who guided her into crime beat and got her introduced to sources from Intelligence Bureau and Crime Branch.

The way channels gave live commentary of the murder immediately after the incident, people expected a definite breakthrough. But the case has been dragged for months, indicating that the police and the government are trying to cover up the real culprit, who gave the ‘supari’. He must be a powerful politician, having links with the underworld. Unconfirmed reports say that Dey was about to expose a prominent politician. To prevent this happening, the politician had given supari to eliminate him. The police had confiscated Dey's hard discs and other records and they have failed to reveal the details, probably under the pressure of the politician. The police will continue to apprehend all those who are even remotely connected with the case to prevent the truth getting exposed. She provided the mobile number for which she is arrested. Did the thugs really need her help to get his mobile number? What nonsense!

I always thought the press made a big noise about a certain community being involved with underworld. If you are bad and evil don’t attach it with any community. It’s an individual choice to be a terrorist or work against your country like this woman. Interesting question is, was she faking someone? There have even been cases of murder and still all our laws practically assume that women cannot commit any crime at all. We claim to be a modern economic superpower but our thinking and all laws are moving at a bullock cart stone age pace. The female journalist should be exposed before public and should answer questions as to what was her motive to make conspiracy against a member of journalist fraternity. Most probably, jealousy and wealth might be main reason behind this motive. If you are suffering from Jaundice then everything will look yellow to you.

Flash Back..
Rajan has made Jigna a villain by accusing her to have instigated him to kill Dey, which is not true. Rajan is not a child... There was definitely something brewing between Dey and Rajan, and Vora perhaps was lured by the don who assured her of a video interview.
"Nana ko doosro par bill phadne ke aadat hai (Rajan, popularly known as Nana, has a habit of putting blame on others). In past, he has similarly double crossed a lot of his associates. After Rajan found the Crime Branch had acquired substantial proof of his involvement, he tactfully put the blame on Jigna and claimed innocence. Nana often spoke to Dey more like a friend and was aware about his whereabouts too", added Rajan's former aide, who feels the theory of Jigna providing bike registration number and Dey's travel schedules would not at all matter. "Nana had developed differences with Dey after the scribe influenced the slain gangster Farid Tanasha to talk to Rajan's opponent Chhota Shakeel. Apart from this, Dey is believed to have had his hands over some legal documents which the scribe was to make public for the same he also had a meeting with Vinod Chembur at a northern Mumbai bar," the source said. A police source added, "They have enough evidence to back their claims that Jigna, the 11th accused to be arrested and remanded, had shared vital information about Dey with Rajan. That is why we had to arrest her."  "May be since 2009, Vora had come in contact with Rajan through the gangster's aide Farid Tanasha, who was murdered last year," police said.
Earlier, Jigna invited the suspicion of investigators when she claimed of never speaking to Rajan on phone, an assertion not backed by facts. "This was one of the contradictions she had made during questioning that led investigators to doubt her claims. There were numerous calls between her and Rajan," police said. Vora is suspected to have sent emails containing photographs, residential address and bike registration number of the slain reporter to Chhota Rajan through a fake email ID.
According to Crime Branch officials, Vora is being questioned on what details she had given to Rajan about Dey, but the scribe was not giving any concrete reply. “She will surely not use her official or personal email ID to send these details and would have specifically created an alternate email ID for this purpose,” said an officer, adding that the Crime Branch officials are now trying to get details of this email ID and its password. “Her laptop has already been given to the forensic department for analysis, but it will take some time to get their report,” said the officer. Police sources said Vora was using four mobile phones and only two have been recovered.
“Not many people knew that she had four mobile phones with her. Efforts are being made to find the other two phones as they might help us get more details related to the investigations,” the officer said. The Crime Branch had also sought custody of Rajan aide Paulson Joseph and make Vora confront him. “Earlier, our investigations had revealed that Joseph had procured global roaming SIM cards from Dubai through his contact person and had given some of these cards to close Rajan aides in Mumbai, including Satish Kalia, the main shooter in the Dey murder case, and Umed-ur-Rehman, an accused in Pakmodia Street firing case. We want to grill them together to ascertain if Joseph had given one such card to Vora as well so that she could speak to Rajan,” said the officer.
Sources said when the arrests were made in the Dey case; the police had no clue about the alleged role played by the Vora.

But now we have learnt that some of the arrested accused knew Vora and vice-versa. We would now make these accused confront Vora to get more leads about her involvement in the case,” said another police officer. 

Twist in the story…
They claimed that Vora played an informer for this A listed actor, who in past was booked for serious offences. "Since Vora was a legal reporter in her previous publications, she spoke to public prosecutors and others related to the case and extracted inside dope from them and passed it on to the actor," the source added.
Vora's phone was under surveillance even before Dey's shootout for her alleged underworld contacts, when the entire link between her and the actor resurfaced. "She used to call gangsters with criminal background, get in touch with them behind the bars and pass their details to their opponents or close ones," the source said. One of such previous phone records have spill the beans that Jigna was in regular touch with this A listed actor and communicated with him in Gujarati about his co accused who are still behind the bars for serious offences. This development will surely put Jigna in deep trouble, which almost seems unrepairable for the scribe.

Underworld divided over the issue
The underworld seems to be divided over the arrest of Asian Age's deputy bureau chief Jigna Vora in the J Dey murder case.
“No one would take such great pains to kill a reporter on the behest of Jigna. Dal mein kala lagta hain (Something smells fishy),” an underworld source close to D Company said. "A lot has been written in past about Dawood bhai and Shakeel bhai's company but no one has pulled triggers on journalists. Sala unke likhne se humlogo ko publicity milta hai (Sic)," added a source that is presently holed up in UAE. Another source from the shady areas of Nagpada where D Company was born reveals, "Our extortion amount doubles each time the media report about us. They (media) create an atmosphere of panic and terror, understand?”
A close associate of a spinster gangster reveals, " Jigna is just a scribe, what made Rajan take such a drastic step without cross checking is the question the police should quiz, there is more to it since the motive of murder is yet not clear".
Meanwhile the Mumbai Crime Branch doesn't rule out professional rivalry since Dey had warned Jigna to stop passing negative information about him to his sources.

"Nana (Rajan) was shown a wrong picture by Vora every time they spoke she passed down Dey's negative stories to him and also forwarded certain evidences of the scribe passing out Rajan's details to opponent gangs or his former associates," a source close to Rajan gang revealed.
Sources - DNA, TOI