Monday, June 13, 2011
For Investgative Journalists, politicians, police, underworld, and subject of reserch are an inevitable evil in today's situation
J Dey’s death was a very shocking incident. I was restless and paranoid about the appalling conditions faced by journalists while discharging their duties. I was Dey’s great fan as a crime correspondent. I always tried to be as good as he was. I used to compete with Mid-day two years back when I was working with ADC. Whenever there used to be crime story by J Dey, our editor Mobin Pandit used to point out saying look at this. If you have to be a good crime correspondent, you will have to be well resourced and researched. Often, I used to follow Dey’s stories and provide a new angle to it by adding more research and that’s how, we became better reporters. It’s sad to notice ones senior’s death like this. His reporting encouraged hundreds of journalists like me, but his death stole our confidence and faith in this government. Brother of journalism fraternity has passed away. Fraternity; unfortunately is not strong enough to attract common man’s sympathy.
Journalists, politicians, police and underworld is an inevitable evil in today's situation. The current scenario has been prevailing since last three decades. The circular talks of the founding rot in the city police; such as the orderlies of senior officials being parallel establishment. These officials have business partnership with the illegal dens like matka and boot legging. CP says that these parallel power centers sms their parallel paymasters alerting about the possible police raid. To talk of Dey's most recent endeavour into the fortress of oil-mafia; one may recall some lead stories in an English morninger in 2008 and again in 2010 stating how two suspected terrorists who had carried out a murder of an oil adulterator for the benefit of another adulterator were handed over to Indonesian embassy by Mumbai police. The duo was nabbed as their local guide panicked and informed the city cops that their satellite phone usage was worrying.
The IB and crime branch sleuths were aghast to know that after carrying out the murder operation for a city based oil-mafia don; they were doing rekey of the sea shore as their colleagues were to land from Indonesia for carrying out an attack on US embassy in Mumbai. The duo was handed over to the embassy of Indonesia. The attack did take place, what world is this we are living in where our Chief of City Police has to detail out such scenario in a warning circular to the same very people who are beneficiaries of this parallel policing. Wiki leaks have relayed a cable sent by Mumbai Consulate of USA to Washington in which we read an essay on city cops working for Dawood Ibrahim. How can some unidentified persons kill such seasoned reporter for such proximity? And still not traced? The Maharashtra government failed to protect the journalist to hunt down the murderers. Dey’s reporting on the underworld made him a respected byline, but it was his passion for wildlife that drew him to journalism. He authored two books on the operations of the mafia and was on the hit-list of several mafia dons and on numerous occasions received threatening calls.
Despite being aware about the threat to Dey’s life, Police failed to protect him. His stories about government departments and land scams created ripples in the state legislature. He recently exposed a Rs 10,000-crore oil-mafia scam. In crime reporting, the passion to get breaking news sometimes demands a very heavy price, and eminent crime reporter J Dey paid the ultimate one, raising the question whether a journalist is really free to write against anti-social elements. The attack on media persons is not new to this city. Journalists have always been targeted by the underworld, political goons and sometimes even the police. In 1997, known crime reporter Baljeet Parmar was shot at Antop Hill. The firing was believed to be carried out by the underworld gangster Chhota Rajan. Earlier, in 1982, AK Narayan a Ulhasnagar journalist working with Blitz was hacked to death by one Maruti Yadav at the behest of the underworld which was unhappy with his exposes connecting local politicians to them.
Narayan’s body was packed into two metal boxes and left at his own doorstep. Though Yadav was nabbed, no underworld connection could be established. In June 2009, four media-persons were manhandled in Parel by men allegedly owing allegiance to the Bahujan Samaj Party. Television journalist Amit Joshi was brutally assaulted by local goons with sticks and rods while he was covering an incident in August last year. To get hard and authentic news, an investigative reporter has to build sources within the police, as well as among the anti-social element groups. The more we get into this, more the risk. We are not only watched by the police, but also the underworld. Though the risk of being shot or assaulted is an integral part of a crime reporter’s life, it is his family which has to live in the constant fear of losing him. People often advice me to get out of crime reporting and opt for another beat. A sustained campaign against the underworld has often resulted in a death threat to journalists.
The CID isn’t headed by a Commissioner, this is the elite’ wing of the State police. Their website talks of its job profile. The Commissioner of this wing issued a statement a week after Mumbai attacks that CID is not concerned with terror related intelligence. This man was awarded the post of police commissioner Mumbai and later DGP of State. Hasan Gafur; then CP of Mumbai who took to streets while his colleagues preferred to comply with vows given to their wives that they would not leave control room; was shunted out for his rave act. The architects of the miss-communication, fraudulent communication on wireless leading to the death of many police officers and men were considered to be reliable witnesses by the Pradhan commission led an Ex-MLC.
Dey’s demise has given a last alert; and if we do not wipe out the evils in seats of power now; we will not have another alert. Anyone of us can be the next target.
my tribute to J' Day..I lost one of my senior journalist