Ahead of the 12th anniversary of the killing of Mumbai crime journalist Jyotirmoy Dey, Netflix will stream ‘Scoop’ from June 2, a series that promises to revive the memories of his gory end by the omnipresent mafia.
Directed by the National Award winner filmmaker Hansal Mehta (‘Shahid’ and ‘Scam:1992’), ‘Scoop’ stars Karishma Tanna, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Harman Baweja, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Deven Bhojani in the main roles.
The series is based on the biographical novel ‘Behind Bars In Byculla: My Days In Prison’, penned by former journalist Jigna Vora, who was one of the prime accused in the Dey murder case. But after a harrowing seven years’ ordeal, she was finally acquitted in 2018 and her acquittal was upheld by Bombay High Court in 2019.
Dey, 55, the Investigations Editor for multi-city tabloid, ‘Mid-Day’, was shot dead around 3 p.m. on June 11, 2011, by four sharpshooters who came on motorcycles and disappeared after executing the sensational crime.
At the time, Dey was returning to his home in Powai on a motorcycle after meeting his mother in Ghatkopar when the four-member gang attacked him near the Hiranandani Gardens.
He was rushed to a local hospital and then to the Hiranandani Hospital but pronounced dead on admission with at least 9 bullet injuries.
Mumbai Police suspected that it was a professionally done operation and maybe related to Dey’s professional work — which proved to be true later — and the underworld hatched the killing, taking advantage of the purported media rivalries and the hazards of the media profession.
Under severe pressure, the Mumbai Police Crime Branch set up multiple teams and finally cracked the case in about 16 days and nabbed seven accused from different states of India.
While three were caught from Chembur (Mumbai), one was nabbed from Solapur and two others from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, and the mastermind was stated to be the dreaded mafia don, Rajendra S. Nikhalje, alias Chhota Rajan, who was holed up abroad from where he remote-controlled the operation.
Those nabbed and later faced the trial included Rohit Thangappan Joseph alias Satish Kaalia — the main killer; Arun J. Dake; Abhijeet K. Shinde; Anil B. Waghmode; Nilesh N. Shendge alias Babloo; Sachin S. Gaikwad; Mangesh D. Agawane; Deepak Sisodia; Vora and Joseph Paulson (both let off); and Vinod Chembur who died during the trial.
Eight of the accused, and Chhota Rajan, were slapped with life imprisonment and fines of varying amounts, while Vora and Paulson were acquitted, thus downing the curtains on one of the most heinous crimes against media at that time.
Incidentally, on the run for nearly three decades and surviving attacks by the rival gang of Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, Chhota Rajan, 64, was extradited to India from Bali, Indonesia in November 2015 and then faced the trial in the Dey murder case and several other cases.
A former colleague of Dey recalls him as a gusty professional who exercised due diligence before filing his investigative stories “since the mafia never forgets or forgives”, worked hard, and went the extra mile to get ‘a good story’.
“He was a man of few words, didn’t poke his nose in other peoples’ business, always appeared furtive or would keep glancing over his shoulders, rarely smiled or joked, would quietly disappear to meet ‘sources’ and on returning there would a victorious glint in his eyes at the ‘story conquest’ for the next day’s breaking headlines,” he said, preferring anonymity.
Over his 25-year long career, Dey had worked with publications like The Afternoon Despatch & Courier, The Hindustan Times, Mid-Day, The Indian Express, specialising in crime stories, and penned two books — ‘Zero Dial: The Dangerous World Of Informers’ and ‘Khallas’.