Almost four years after journalist J Dey was shot dead at Powai on June 11, 2011, charges against the 10 accused are likely to be filed in the MCOCA court on Monday.
The framing of charges in the court of judge AL Pansare will pave way for the long awaited trial of the case.
At present, while three of the accused – former journalist Jigna Vora, Deepak Sisodia and Paulson Joseph – are out on bail, seven are lodged in judicial custody. A key accused in the case, Vinod Asrani aka Vinod Chembur, died in April this year of liver cirrhosis while another accused, Anil Waghmode, is suffering from a chronic disease.
Sources close to the investigation told HT the delay in framing charges against the accused is because of the frequent unavailability of Vinod, owing to his illness. “For the past six months, we have been trying to bring all the accused together for framing the charges in the court. However, Vinod could not give a date. Now that he is no more, the case can proceed,” the sources said.
Special public prosecutor Raja Thakre said they delay in the trial was because of systemic issues. “There is no deliberate attempt to delay the trial. The court is burdened with several cases that are tried as per their turn. Without a specific direction from the high court to expedite the [J Dey] case, its trial cannot be given precedence,” he said. “However, the trial will commence shortly.”
The special prosecutor claimed the death of Vinod will not affect the outcome of the case.
Dey was shot dead by six assailants allegedly at the behest of gangster Chhota Rajan. According to the police, Rajan was upset with the senior scribe as he had written two articles portraying him negatively.
On December 3, 2011, the crime branch had filed a charge sheet against the 10 accused. Subsequently, on February 21, 2012, a supplementary charge sheet was filed against Vora, claiming his professional rivalry with Dey claimed his life.