Four days before his murder, crime reporter Jyotirmoy Dey was shown to the killers by the arrested alleged bookie, during a meeting at a bar and restaurant in suburban Mulund, also attended by three more persons, including a senior journalist with a news channel, police said today.
The senior journalist with the Hindi news channel, who was not aware of the plot by the underworld don Chhota Rajan, would be made "prime witness" in the Dey murder case, police added.
Vinod Asrani alias Vinod Chembur, an alleged bookie who was suspected to have had a key role in Dey's murder, was arrested yesterday. Asrani was remanded to police custody till July 7.
"Asrani had called the Hindi channel journalist and Dey to a bar and restaurant in Mulund. On June 7, the news channel journalist drove his car to a location in Powai, where Dey was waiting. From there, the two had gone to the bar, where they met Ansari after 10 pm in the bar," JPC (Crime) Himanshu Roy said.
"Two more persons were also present in the meeting, apart from Dey, the news channel journalist and Asrani," Roy said, refusing to divulge their identities. The statements of these two unidentified persons would be recorded soon, he added.
As the news channel journalist and Dey had reached the bar, Asrani had hinted at the target (Dey) to Arun Dake (27) and Sachin Gaikwad (27)--two of the eight arrested accused.
"The two killers were gestured by Asrani at the target (Dey) outside the bar," Roy said.
The statement of the news channel journalist was recorded and he was a prime witness in the case, he said.
"Before cracking the murder case, Asrani was grilled, when he had told the police lightly that he had indeed met Dey in the Mulund bar, as the two were on good terms," the JPC Roy added.
"But that time, we had no hint that the meeting had anything to do with Dey's killing," he said.
However, after cracking the case, the arrested gunman Rohee Thangappan Joseph alias Satish Kalya (34) had revealed that it was Asrani, who had helped them identify the target outside a bar in Mulund, the JPC Roy said, adding, by this time, Asrani had fled to Gangotri in Uttarakhand.
The statements of Asrani and the news channel journalist were recorded regarding the meeting, but their statements were unmatched, the sources said.
Dey's wife, meanwhile, had said that the crime reporter came home after 1 am on June 8 and he appeared tensed, police sources added.
Dey (56), working with the city-based English tabloid Mid Day, was shot dead by four motorcycle-borne assailants in suburban Powai on June 11.
Besides Kalya, the police arrested his associates Abhijeet Shinde (28), Arun Dake (27), Sachin Gaikwad (27), Anil Waghmode (35), Nilesh Shendge (34) and Mangesh Agawane(25) last week from the state and Tamil Nadu.
Earlier, police had claimed that the journalist was eliminated at the behest of Rajan, who paid Rs 5 lakh to the accused.
The ongoing investigation have established "80 per cent of the motive" behind the crime, Roy added.
Arrested Bookie Showed Dey to Killers Outside a Bar
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