Assistant Commissioner of Police Anil Mahabole has been grilled by the police in connection with the murder of investigative journalist Jyotirmoy Dey, even as the probe showed no signs of a breakthrough eight days after the killing.

Mr. Mahabole was questioned for five hours on Saturday. Police said he could be questioned again if required. The ACP is reported to have said he had nothing to do with the attack in suburban Powai on June 11.

Police, meanwhile, said the anonymous phone call from Yemen claiming that Indian Mujahideen (IM) was behind the murder could be a 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 rang up the police control room from Yemen claiming that the IM had hired shooters from Hyderabad, Bihar and Srinagar and paid them Rs.4 lakh to kill Dey.

A top Crime Branch official said: “Mr. Mahabole was questioned for several hours yesterday [Saturday]. His statement was recorded and he was allowed to go. He claimed that he had cordial relations with Dey and he had no role in the murder.”

Crime Branch sources said the ACP was questioned for over five hours, during which he appeared tense.

In 2005, Mr. Mahabole filed a criminal defamation case against Dey after a report by the latter portrayed the ACP in bad light, police said.

Speaking to PTI, Mr. Mahabole said: “I told the Crime Branch what I had to. I don't want to disclose as to what questions I was asked.”

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