Marine diesel smuggler Mohammad Ali Abu Bakr Sheikh was questioned by the crime branch on Thursday in connection with the murder of journalist J Dey, who was gunned down by motorcycle-borne assailants at Powai on Saturday.
However, for the sixth consecutive day, the police appeared to be clueless about the identity of the assassins or the motive. JCP (crime) Himanshu Roy said a special team questioned Ali at the Nair Hospital, where he has been admitted for treatment of various ailments. Ali was arrested on September 21 last year in connection with the murder of rival oil smuggler Chand Madar.
The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) had been invoked against Ali and seven of his aides in the case.
On Tuesday, the crime branch made an application in the designated MCOCA court, seeking permission to question Ali over Dey’s murder. The court granted permission on Wednesday.
“Dey had written a number of articles about the oil mafia in general, and Ali in particular. He has already been arrested for murdering one of his rivals, who allegedly came in the way of his business. Therefore we wanted to question him,” Roy said.
Meanwhile, Roy claimed the police have spoken to five new witnesses from the CCTV footage captured at the time of the murder. He said they have given valuable clues about the appearance of the killers and the way in which the murder took place. “We have questioned police informers and fringe elements with a recent history of crime,” Roy said.
He said Mateen alias Iqbal Hakla and Anwar Sheikh, the duo who had been picked up for questioning on Wednesday but eventually let off, continue to remain under scanner.
“Their involvement in the crime has not surfaced yet,” Roy added. The police suspect that the duo was misleading the police.