Hinting that the Mumbai Police were close to cracking the case of the killing of crime reporter J Dey, Commissioner Arun Patnaik told journalists here on Tuesday: “The way the investigation is going, I can assure you that he [J Dey] paid with his life because of his professional duties. It [the murder] was not for a personal reason.”

He was talking during the condolence meeting organised by the Mumbai Crime Reporters' Association at the Crime Branch here.

With this, speculation about the involvement of the underworld and the diesel oil mafia in the killing has increased.

Meanwhile, official sources said the transfer of Assistant Commissioner of Police Anil Mahabole was not because of the suspicion of involvement in the J Dey murder case. “It is an administrative transfer. He has been attached to the Local Arms control room,” a senior police official said.

Police sources said Mr. Mahabole was transferred because of the position he took during the imprisonment of Akela alias Tarakant Dwivedi, a MiD Day reporter, who was recently arrested under the Official Secrets Act.

Asked if Mr. Mahabole would be questioned in relation to the killing of J Dey, senior police officials said all those suspected to be involved in the case would be investigated.

Mr. Mahabole, however, told journalists here that he had not been questioned by the police. He said he had nothing to do with the case. “I had high regards for J Dey.”

He said allegations of his association with the underworld were wrong and spread in the media by some “vested interests.” “I am waiting for the culprits to be caught,” he said.

“Case on good track”

Meanwhile, Mr. Patnaik said the Mumbai Police would go beyond detecting this case. “The case is on a very good track. This detection won't be the end of it. We will make it very hot for these guys [the accused]. You will see the impact,” he said.

Reporters requested Mr. Patnaik to not only arrest the shooters but to bring the brain behind the attack to book.

Mr. Patnaik said this was “a challenge they have thrown at the entire police force and to me in particular. I take up this challenge… the way he [J. Dey] was killed, I am unable to come to terms with it. We will give them a proper and fitting response,” he said.

The condolence meeting got very emotional as colleagues, friends and police officers remembered J Dey as a well-read intellectual who was humble and down-to-earth, and who had an impeccable network of sources.

Senior crime reporters vociferously expressed their apprehensions about their safety. They appealed to fellow journalists to report with utmost caution and to not go deeper into the underworld or crime stories.

But Mr. Patnaik expressed his disagreement about it. “As an officer, I would urge you [journalists] to take them [underworld] on. I am not here to dissuade you” he said.