Two businessmen, who were allegedly present in a conspiracy meeting to eliminate senior journalist J Dey at fugitive don Chhota Rajan aide Vinod Ashrani alias Vinod Chembur’s bungalow at Lonavala in March-April this year, have been made witnesses in the murder case.
Dey was killed by a group of seven sharp shooters, allegedly deputed by the fugitive don at Powai on June 11 this year.
The crime branch unraveled the murder mystery by arresting the seven shooters on June 27, and three others on Monday, including Rajan’s aide Paulson Joseph alias Paul.
However, the motive behind the gruesome killing still continues to elude the police.
Joint commissioner of police, crime Himanshu Roy told Hindustan Times on Tuesday that two persons, who were part of the Lonavala meeting, have been made witnesses in the case and the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) has been invoked against them.
Roy, however, refused to disclose the names of the duo stating that the identities of the witnesses is protected under MCOCA.
Chembur’s Lonavala bungalow, which has long been used to host Rajan’s high-profile clientele and even government officials and a selected group of journos, has a swimming pool on its terrace, which is blocked from aerial view by a thick tinted glass cover.
Roy said that the Mumbai police has written to the Italia telecom, an Italian cellular service provider to provide records of calls made from four SIM cards, allegedly used by Rajan’s gang members, including Chembur and Satish Kalya, who pulled the trigger on Dey, to communicate with him before and after Dey’s assassination.
The crime branch had confiscated those cards and following the interrogation of Chembur, the police came to know that those had been provided by Paulson Joseph, prompting the latter’s arrest on Monday. Roy said Paulson had obtained those cards, available in abundance at places such as Dubai and Singapore, from another person. The police is on the lookout for this man.
“The records of the call made by using these cards will help find the mobile tower locations on the day of the murder. And since the assassins were using those cards, it will help us bolster evidence against them,” Roy added.
Paulson has been remanded to police custody till September 16 by a special MCOCA court.
Roy said so far, 40 persons have been made witnesses in the case while 10 have been arrested. The police have obtained confession from two of the accused which can be presented as evidence under the MCOCA.
A few others are still wanted in the case, the police said.