Mumbai: Police on Sunday said the anonymous phone call from Yemen claiming that Indian Mujahideen (IM) was behind the murder of crime reporter J Dey, could to be hoax.

"The probe indicates it was a hoax call. But we want to double check before coming to a conclusion that it was a hoax call. We are in touch with the authorities of Yemen," a senior
police officer said.

On Saturday, an anonymous caller phoned at the police control room from Yemen claiming that the IM had hired shooters from Hyderabad, Bihar and Srinagar and paid Rs 4 lakh
to kill Dey.

Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner of Police Anil Mahabole was grilled by police on Saturday in connection with the murder.

"Mahabole was questioned for several hours on Saturday. His statement was recorded and he was allowed to go. During the interrogation, Mahabole claimed that he had cordial relations with Dey and he had no role in the murder," a top crime branch official said.

Crime Branch sources said that he was questioned for over five hours, during which, the ACP appeared tense and kept on repeating that he had nothing to do with the killing.

Mahabole had, in 2005, filed a criminal defamation case against Dey after the latter's news report, in which, the ACP's reputation was allegedly put in a bad light, police said.

Mahabole said, "I told the Crime Branch what I had to. I don't want to disclose as to what questions I was asked." However, police said that they may summon the ACP again, if required.

Dey (56), Editor (Special Investigation) with Mid-Day, who extensively covered underworld and crime for over two decades, was shot dead by four motorbike-borne assailants in
suburban Powai on June 11.

The city police now have to file a status report on the murder probe. The Bombay High Court had directed the Maharashtra government and police on Thursday to file a status
report on June 21 on the murder probe.

ACP Mahabole, who came under the scanner following the murder, was abruptly shunted to Local Arms Control Room in suburban Naigaon from the in-charge post of Azad Maidan division in south Mumbai on June 13, two days after the incident.

Another PIL in HC for CBI probe

One more PIL has been filed in the Bombay High Court, seeking CBI probe into the murder of senior journalist J Dey and an inquiry by the same agency into the alleged growing nexus between sections of Mumbai police and the underworld.

The PIL, filed by S Balakrishnan, Editor of Deshbhakti Andolan weekly, an English tabloid, on Saturday, will come up for hearing on June 21, along with other petitions, which are
also seeking a CBI probe into Dey's killing.

Others, who have filed petitions, include the Press Club, Mumbai, Marathi Patrakar Parishad, advocate V P Patil and former scribe Ketan Tirodkar.

In the petition, Balakrishnan has stated that the growing nexus between the men in uniform and gangland was a matter of deep concern and had serious implications for the civil society.

He said the dismissal of inspectors Aslam Momin and Pradeep Sharma for their alleged links with gangsters and the suspension of five police officials for dancing with gangsters
pointed out a worrisome trend.

He also noted in the petition that more recently, Pune Police Commissioner Meeran Borwankar confirmed that she had ordered an inquiry into tapes of alleged conversations between Deputy Commissioner of Police Pradip Sawant, who is currently posted with the Anti-Terrorist Squad, Mumbai, and Chhota Shakeel, chief lieutenant of Dawood Ibrahim.  

Balakrishnan has prayed that the High Court directs the CBI to conduct a fresh inquiry. He has also sought a criminal action against all those officers, who have been found guilty by the CBI.

The petition also has sought a CBI inquiry into the murder of J Dey, reporter of Mid Day, since the Mumbai police have been unable to make any headway, despite several days after the sensational assassination.

JPN/Agencies