A special court will frame charges against gangster Chhota Rajan on January 19 in the murder of journalist Jyotirmoy Dey. The Mumbai Police Crime Branch has until then to serve a copy of its chargesheet to Rajan, who is currently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail.
Rajan, who was brought to India in October after being detained in Bali, was produced in the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court in Arthur Road Jail through video-conferencing from Tihar jail Thursday. He was formally placed under the custody of the court in a specially secured room inside the jail premises, in which only Special Judge A L Pansare, and prosecutors from the Crime Branch and CBI, besides officers from both agencies, were present.
Rajan was informed by the judge that charges would be framed against him on the next date of hearing of the case and that he would also be given a copy of the chargesheet by then. While he will jointly tried with the other arrested accused, the CBI, which has registered an FIR in the case, will take over the probe.
The state had issued a notification last year transferring all of Rajan’s cases to the CBI but he cannot be tried by the CBI until it files its own chargesheet. “They have no authorisation to try Rajan under the MCOCA Act,” said special public prosecutor Dilip Shah, appearing for the Crime Branch.
CBI special public prosecutor Bharat Badami sought time to study a 2015 order of the Bombay High Court which directed that the trial be conducted on a day-to-day basis. Rajan asked the court for time to appoint a lawyer in Mumbai to attend the trial.
”Rajan has not expressed to the court that he faces any danger to come to Mumbai. He said that he will consult with his lawyer and then tell the court whether he is comfortable with videoconferencing or if he wants to come to Mumbai,” said Shah.
The Crime Branch had arrested 11 people for murder of Dey in broad daylight in Powai in 2011, allegedly at Rajan’s behest.