The arrest of crime journalist Jigna Vora in connection with the murder of senior journalist J Dey drew mixed reactions from her colleagues in the media and from former police officers she is likely to have interacted with as a reporter.
Former Mumbai police commissioner MN Singh said he wasn’t too surprised that a journalist’s name had cropped up during the probe.
“There have been cases where journalists were found having close links with the underworld. But this is very rare,” he said.
Singh pointed out that the organised crime syndicate thrives by penetrating every possible institution and profession. “But a woman journalist working for a gangster and that too against her fellow journalist is sad,” he added.
Ram Pawar, senior journalist and former president of Crime Reporters’ Association, reminded journalists that they have to be mindful of the extent to which they would go to develop contacts and sources.
“It is necessary that crime reporters should not involve themselves personally with their sources, especially when these sources are from the underworld,” Pawar said.
While adding that Vora’s arrest has come as a shock to the media, Pawar said that reporters associating themselves with dubious sources tarnish the integrity of the media.
Vora did receive support from some of her colleagues who asked the police to release details of the evidence against her.
“If Chhota Rajan wants a dossier on anyone, he could have got it from his vast network of foot soldiers in Mumbai,” said senior journalist S Balakrishnan. “It is difficult to believe that Jigna would have agreed to be a part of the conspiracy to kill a fellow journalist.”
Balakrishnan said that it remained to be seen if the journalist had been set up.
Echoing Balakrishnan’s argument, senior journalist Jatin Desai said that police should release evidence that shows Vora passed information about J Dey.
Lawyer and former IPS officer YP Singh said that proving Vora’s intent was likely to be crucial.
“The evidence has not been made public. In such cases, the intention is very important. The crux of the investigation will be whether the information was passed on with intention and knowledge,” he said. This would have to be proved with a strong investigation, he added.
Balakrishnan demanded that the investigation be handed over to the CBI given the international dimensions to the case.