The crime branch, on Wednesday, said that it suspects the calls allegedly made by crime reporter Jigna Vora to underworld kingpin Chhota Rajan, in the run-up to the murder of fellow scribe J Dey, were through international SIM cards procured by Rajan’s aide Paulson Joseph.
Both Paulson and Vora have been arrested by the crime branch in connection with Dey’s June 11 murder.
A senior crime branch official revealed on Wednesday that investigators in the Dey murder case had confiscated four of Vora’s mobile phones after her arrest on Friday. While checking the call records of these cell phones, the crime branch had allegedly come across outgoing calls made from international (roaming) numbers to overseas numbers, suspected to be those of Chhota Rajan, an official claimed. The official said crime branch suspects the international SIM cards used by Vora had been provided to her by Paulson. He had allegedly procured 14 SIM cards belonging to Italia Telecom, a cellular service provider from Italy from another of Rajan’s aides Ravi Ratesar.
A witness in the murder case, Ratesar had allegedly purchased the cards from Dubai and handed those over to Paulson on Rajan’s instructions.
Crime branch alleges that these cards had been specifically procured in order to hatch Dey’s murder conspiracy. Paulson had told police that while one of the SIM cards was defunct, he had kept one with himself. Another card had been given to Rajan’s man and an accused in the case, Vinod Ashrani alias Vinod Chembur, while Dey’s assassin Satish Kalya had been given a card, too.
However, the remaining cards had not been accounted for. It is in the backdrop of these findings that the crime branch suspects Vora was given one of these SIM cards to communicate with Rajan and co-conspirators in the case.
“We believe the SIM cards were in a synchronised series so it would not be difficult for Paulson to recollect the recipient/s,” additional commissioner of police, crime, Deven Bharati said.