In the clearest indication that gangs have become active in Mumbai after years of quiet, a senior Mumbai journalist best known for his two decades of reporting on the city's underworld was shot dead by four men outside a busy market place on Saturday.
Jyotirmoy Dey - identified by his byline J Dey and among Mumbai journalists as 'Commander J' - was shot five times near D-Mart super store at Hiranandani Complex in central Mumbai's upmarket Powai at around 2.30pm.Maharashtra home minister RR Patil said organised crime was behind the killing, though all angles were being investigated.
Dey was special investigations editor with Mid-Day. He also worked with Indian Express and Hindustan Times earlier and recently released his book Zero Dial on police informers. Dey had earlier written a book, Khallas, on the underworld lingo.
The incident has shaken the journalist fraternity in Mumbai that has dealt with the underworld mafia and reported its activities for over three decades.
He is the 28th journalist to be killed in India since 1992, and the first journalist to be ever killed in Mumbai.
The shocking incident happened at around 3pm when the senior journalist had stepped out of his house riding his motorcycle.
Police sources said, the four assailants trailed him and shot eight rounds. Five rounds hit J Dey with one bullet piercing his skull, killing him on the spot, said sources. He was taken to hospital but declared dead on arrival.
Following the incident, policemen cordoned off the entire area around Hiranandani complex.
J Dey had not got any threat calls nor had he reported any death threats to the police; even his close friends are clueless about who would have possibly engineered the gruesome murder, said police sources.
Police are also probing the involvement of the illegal quarrying mafia on the Maharashtra-Gujarat border and the oil mafia in J Dey's murder.
J Dey recently had authored an article, where he had reported of explosives and detonators gone missing following a police raid on the quarrying mafia at Silvassa.
Footage from closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) placed in shops near the spot where Dey was killed has been gathered to figure out identity of the assailants, said police sources.
But crucial forensic evidence from the spot of crime could not be gathered because of the rains, added sources.
Deven Bharti, additional commissioner of police (Crime) said, "He used to report about underworld activities apart from major issues related to crime in the city, but had never mentioned about threat to his life or having received any such phone calls. At the moment we are looking at possible angles."