The men who had allegedly murdered senior journalist J Dey were clueless about his identity. The import of the murder sank in after they watched television news in the evening. Then began the scramble to escape justice, said Mumbai police.
Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police (crime) said after the murder, the men got together at the home of Mangesh Agawane, one of the accused, in Jogeshwari, in western Mumbai. There, they learnt that their target was a senior journalist.
Rohee Thangapan Joseph alias Satish Kalya, the man who organised the crime and pulled the trigger, allegedly called up Chhota Rajan. According to Roy, he told Rajan, ‘section garam ho gaya (the matter is serious)’.
“Rajan offered him more money and told him he would take care of things,” Roy said.
Agawane, along with accused Sachin Gaikwad, stayed back in Mumbai. The other five left on a tour of temple towns in the Qualis used during the murder.
The men had thought police vigilance will be slack in pilgrim centres. Plus, “Kalya is a deeply religious man, he does not drink or eat non-vegetarian food,” said Deven Bharti, additional commissioner of police (crime).
The men first went to Nala Sopara, in the suburbs of Mumbai, from where they collected R3 lakh – part of the money they had been promised.Then they began their tour, beginning with Pavagadh in Gujarat. Then they visited Shirdi, Akkalkot, Yadgiri, Solapur, Bijapur, Sangli, Bangalore, Urai and Rameshwaram. They had split up and three of them were planning to go to Tirupati, when they were arrested.
“We picked up Kalya, Anil Waghmode and Abhijit Shinde from Rameshwaram on June 25,” Roy said. Nilesh Shendge was picked up from Solapur the same day. Agawane, Gaikwad and Arun Dake were picked up from Dharavi on June 26.
Roy said the accused had R20,000 on them. They had spent the rest of the money.