The Mumbai Crime Branch has sent the seized laptop and cell phone of arrested journalist Jigna Vora for forensic analysis. Ms. Vora, deputy bureau chief of The Asian Age , was recently arrested in connection with the murder of another reporter J Dey.
The police are scheduled to file a charge sheet in the matter by December 3, but officials said it has not yet been decided if Ms. Vora's name will be included in it.
“We have not yet decided if we will put her name in this charge sheet or in an additional charge sheet. The decision should be taken in a day or two,” a senior Crime Branch official said.
‘Solid legal grounds'
The police had consulted legal experts before making the arrest. “That is what took us so long. Last time, we had sought an extension of 30 days from the court for filing the charge sheet for the same reason. Only when we were sure that we are on solid legal grounds, did we arrest her,” the senior official said.
The police are already going through Ms. Vora's bank accounts. They have also been scanning her emails, phone records and data on the office computer. “We are examining if anything relevant has been deleted,” police said.
The police said they got suspicious of her when she was interrogated before her arrest and she had made contradictory statements, trying to mislead the investigation.
“In her first statement, she had said she had never talked to Chhota Rajan [fugitive gangster]. But later when we confronted her with her phone records, she agreed,” an official said.
Police have said that Ms. Vora was in frequent touch with Chhota Rajan. Her proximity to the gangster is said to have increased after 2009, when Chhota Rajan's gang member Farid Tanasha was released from prison.
Meanwhile, officials said that Ms. Vora was co-operating with the investigation.
The police are set to investigate why she was not in the city when J Dey was murdered.
“She has claimed she was in Sikkim at that time. Her phone was on. But even after she learnt about the murder, she did not call up anyone, she showed no curiosity,” an official said. Her police custody ends on December 1.
J Dey, a senior crime reporter with a tabloid, was shot dead by four bike-borne men in broad daylight on June 11. The police have made 11 arrests in the case so far. “But no other journalist will be arrested now,” a senior official said.