Mumbai: A fortnight after senior crime journalist Jyotirmoy Dey was shot dead, Mumbai police on Monday cracked the case claiming that underworld don Chhota Rajan was behind the murder, even as they remained tight-lipped about the motive.
   
"The murder was planned by Rohit Thangappan alias Satish Kalya at the behest of Chhota Rajan. Kalya is a known shooter of Rajan gang and has worked for him earlier too," Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy told reporters.

"While three persons were arrested from Mumbai, three were arrested from Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu and one from Solapur," he said.

According to police, Kalya had received a call from Chhota Rajan around 20 days before June 11, the day when Dey was shot dead.

"Rajan told Kalya that he needs him to do a job and that money and weapons would be provided. Kalya then collected Rs two lakh from Chembur and the murder weapon along with 25 rounds of cartridges from Nainital," Roy said.

Police, however, did not disclose the motive behind the murder.

The police have recovered the murder weapon. All the seven arrested in the case were produced before a local court which remanded them to police custody till July 4.

Roy further said that Rajan had kept the identity of the target a secret but had given description of the victim and his bike number a week before the killing.

"Rajan had told Kalya that the target would be found either in Arel (where Mid-Day office is located) or in Pia, where Dry stays. On June 9 and 10, Kaila along with his associate Anil Waghmode had formed a team of seven persons, tried to spot Dey in Powai area but failed. On June 11, they
spotted him and Kalya, who was riding pillion, fired five rounds at Dey," Roy said.

After the murder, all the seven accused as per their plan went to Jogeshwari where they saw the news about the incident on television.

"Only after seeing news channels, the shooters came to know about the identity of the person they had shot at. When they realised that they had killed a journalist, Kalya called up Rajan who assured them to stay calm. Rajan then asked them
to collect Rs three lakh more and go out of Mumbai," Roy said.

After that, the seven accused travelled around various places like Gujarat, Shirdi, Karnataka, Bijapur, Sangli, Solapur, Bangalore, Madurai and Rameshwaram.

"Crime Branch sleuths first picked up Kalya from Rameshwaram. Based on his interrogation, the other accused were picked up," the Joint Commissioner said.

Expressing grief over the death of the senior journalist, Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik said, "The next step would be to prepare a water tight case for the trial. We assure everyone the case would be brought to its logical end."

Dey, Editor (Special Investigation) of Mid-Day, was shot dead in the afternoon of June 11 at suburban Powai.

(Agencies)