The Mumbai police on Friday arrested a woman journalist in connection with the murder of MiD-Day reporter J. Dey.

Jigna Jitendra Vora (37), Deputy Bureau Chief of The Asian Age , was held on charges of criminal conspiracy and murder.

The police also slapped charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) on her. The special MCOCA court remanded her in police custody till December 1. This is the 11 {+t} {+h} arrest in the case.

“Arrest is not the indication of her guilt. We have to do custodial interrogation on the basis of prima facie evidence. The remand is to facilitate investigation,” Mumbai Commissioner of Police Arup Patnaik told a press conference here.

“We believe in her innocence. She is a woman of integrity. We stand by her. Let the truth come out in the court,” said Hussain Zaidi, Resident Editor of The Asian Age . He was by her side when she was brought to the MCOCA court.

“The accused parted with vital information to the organised underworld crime syndicate,” public prosecutor Dilip Shah said in the court. Crime Branch sources said they found contradictions in her statements.

Vital information

Mr. Shah argued that Ms. Vora had overstepped her limits as a journalist. He said she passed on vital information about the deceased to the fugitive gangster Chhota Rajan, and was thus instrumental in the commission of the murder.

Even as they were probing the possible motives behind the attack on Dey, who was shot dead by four assailants in June this year, the police were dwelling deep into the question of beneficiaries of the killings. “She is a well-known journalist and also law student. She has parted [with] information. She has every knowledge of whom she is parting the information with. She knows the consequences also,” Mr. Shah said.

He said custodial interrogation was essential. “We have to find out the instruments used to part with the information on J. Dey's photo, vehicle number, email ID and movements.” When the police questioned her previously, she gave misleading information as “she was aware that she was not in custody,” he said.

He said Ms. Vora was in touch with many members of the organised crime syndicate and that printouts of her telephonic records showed her extensive conversation with Chhota Rajan.

Far-fetched

However, Ms. Vora's counsel Girish Kulkarni argued that the police allegations were far-fetched and without any material evidence. “There is no information that she is a party to or has any motive or has aided and abetted in anything,” he said.

Jigna Jitendra Vora (37), Deputy Bureau Chief of The Asian Age, was held on charges of criminal conspiracy and murder

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