OVER FIVE years after his murder, Shubha Sharma, wife of slain journalist Jyotirmoy Dey, deposed before the special CBI court Monday. Sharma, who was the sixth witness to be examined in the case, told the court that she had seen “a change in Dey’s behaviour” a few days before his murder on June 11, 2011. Sharma told the court that she had first noticed that Dey was “tense about something” on May 30, 2011, her mother’s birthday, when the entire family had gone to Gorai beach to celebrate.
Watch what else is making news
During the deposition, which began at 11.35 am and went on till 1 pm, Sharma told the court about Dey’s routine and his work. “We used to wake up early in the morning and my husband would go to his mother’s home around 8 am and return for lunch. We would leave for work after that,” said Sharma, who is also a journalist. Special public prosecutor for CBI Pradip Gharat asked her if she knew anything about crime journalism and about Dey’s work to which Sharma said Dey kept his family and professional life separate. She said she was not aware about the sources he used to contact for his crime stories.
Sharma also told the court that she had heard about only one of Dey’s contacts, Vinod Chembur. Chembur, one of the accused in the case, had met Dey a few days before his murder at Mulund. She said Dey had returned from the meeting at midnight. Sharma was also asked about Dey’s trip to Europe between April 28 and May 5, 2011. The prosecution’s case states that Dey’s visit to London had created suspicion in gangster Chhota Rajan’s mind about him meeting members of his rival Dawood Ibrahim’s gang. Sharma confirmed that Dey had visited London, Paris, Germany and Holland during his trip.
In response to one of the questions during her cross-examination by defence lawyer Anshuman Sinha, appearing for Chhota Rajan, Sharma said Dey had told her that an ACP of the Mumbai Police had “threatened him with dire consequences”. Sinha also asked Sharma if she had heard Akela, to which replied in the affirmative.
Akela, who was Dey’s colleague in Mid-Day, was arrested for his June 2010 news report on the condition of sophisticated weapons brought after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks lying in a dank room with water dripping on them from the roof. “He (Dey) had told me about some offence registered against Akela. I was told that Akela was innocent and not concerned with the crime,” Sharma said, adding that Dey had supported Akela in the case.
On being asked if she had heard about ACP Mahabole, Sharma said Dey had told her about being threatened by the police officer for a story he had done and for supporting Akela. After Dey’s murder, the Mumbai Police Crime Branch, which had initially investigated the case, had questioned Mahabole as his name cropped up during the probe. But investigators eventually concluded that the murder took place allegedly at the behest of Rajan.
During further cross-examination by advocates Avinash Rasal and Santosh Deshpande, Sharma told the court that she was at home when the incident took place. She said she had received a call from a friend of Dey’s asking her where he was. Soon after, she recalled, he called her back to inform her that Dey had been shot at and was rushed to a hospital. Sharma told the court that by the time she reached the hospital, Dey had been declared dead.