Jyotirmoy Dey (1955-2011) was an Indian crime investigation journalist and author who was known for his stories and contacts in the Mumbai Underworld. He was murdered in June 2011 by contract killers. The 2023 web series Scoop was loosely based on the circumstances after his murder.
Jyotirmay Dey aka J. Dey aka Jyotendra Dey aka Commander J was born in 1955 (age 56 years; at the time of death). As per one source, he was born in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), West Bengal, India, and as per another source, he was born in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), Maharashtra, India. He completed his studies in West Bengal and worked at Hindustan Lever before pursuing a career in journalism in Mumbai.
Height (approx.): 6′ 3″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
He was born into a Bengali family.
Parents & Siblings
Jyotirmoy Dey’s father passed away before his murder in 2011. His mother’s name was Bina Dey who passed away on 6 September 2017 at her house on the first floor of Vraj Villa at Amrut Nagar in Ghatkopar. He had a sister named Lina.
Wife & Children
His wife’s name was Shubha Sharma. He had no children.
Starting his career at Hindustan Times, Dey initially focused on his passion for wildlife, specifically addressing issues related to forest encroachment and the delicate balance between humans and animals in Borivali National Park. His investigative report on the government’s encroachment in the reserved park caused a significant uproar within the state legislature. After initially working as a freelancer for Afternoon Despatch and Courier, Dey delved into wildlife crime reporting in various areas. Alongside his writing, he also pursued photojournalism as a trainee reporter cum photographer. Subsequently, he transitioned to working as a freelance journalist for Mid-Day before eventually joining the publication full-time. After joining Indian Express in 1996, he started reporting on crime, particularly related to the Mumbai underworld. In 2005, he made a move to Hindustan Times to continue his work in journalism; however, he eventually returned to Mid-Day, this time as the crime and investigations editor, where he played a significant role in covering crime-related stories.
He authored two books on Mumbai Underworld, Zero Dial: The Dangerous World of Informers and Khallas.
On 11 June 2011, Jyotirmoy Dey was attacked while returning home on his motorcycle from Ghatkopar, where his mother lived. The incident occurred around 3 pm when four unidentified men on motorcycles opened fire on him at Hiranandani Gardens in Powai. Following the attack, he was initially taken to Powai Hospital; however, due to inadequate facilities, he was quickly transferred to Hiranandani Hospital. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at Hiranandani Hospital, having sustained nine bullet exit wounds. The Mumbai Police suggested that the murder could be a planned act, possibly connected to Jyotirmoy Dey’s reporting on the oil mafia or it could be a planning of Underworld Don Chhota Rajan as Dey had recently written about Chhota Rajan’s alleged involvement in a shooting that occurred in Mumbai, which included Dawood Ibrahim‘s brother, Iqbal Kaskar.
Investigation of J Dey’s Murder
After the initial investigation, the Mumbai Police handed over the case of Dey’s murder to the Crime Branch department. Following sixteen days of diligent work, the Crime Branch made a significant breakthrough, apprehending seven individuals from different locations across India. These suspects, known as Rohit Thangappan Joseph alias Satish Kalia, Arun Dake, Anil Waghmode, Babloo, Sachin Gaikwad, Mangesh Agawane, and Chhottu, had a history of criminal activities. They were believed to be affiliated with the notorious gang known as ‘NANA COMPANY,’ associated with Chhota Rajan. In a press conference, Himanshu Roy, the Additional Commissioner of Police (crime), revealed that Rajan had approached Kalia to organize the shooting, with Kalia himself being identified as the one who fired the fatal shots at Dey. The commissioner emphasized that the shooting had been carried out at Rajan’s behest, and the shooters allegedly had no knowledge of Dey’s profession.
Alleged Role of Journalist Jigna Vora
On 21 February 2012, Jigna Vora, the Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Asian Age, was charged by the Mumbai Crime Branch under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) and other criminal offences related to her alleged involvement in the high-profile murder case. The charges included criminal conspiracy, murder, and destruction of evidence, as well as provisions under the Arms Act and IPC. The police had been monitoring Vora since 4 July 2011 when they intercepted a conversation between Manoj, Vinod Asrani’s brother (who was also arrested), and the gangster Chhota Rajan. It was alleged that Vora provided Dey’s motorcycle details to Chhota Rajan. The police claimed that professional rivalry motivated Vora’s involvement in Dey’s murder; however, some argued that the evidence against her was not strong. On 27 July 2012, Vora was granted bail by a special court, considering her responsibilities as a single parent and her lack of a previous criminal record.
Verdict in J. Dey’s Murder Case
Chhota Rajan was arrested in 2015 and deported to India from Bali, Indonesia following which CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) took over the investigation. On 2 May 2018, nearly after 7 years of Dey’s murder, the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court sentenced Chhota Rajan and eight others to life imprisonment including Satish Kaliya, Anil Waghmode, Abhijit Shinde, Nilesh Shendge, Arun Dake, Mangesh Agawane, Sachin Gaikwad, and Deepak Sisodia and also fined them Rs 26 Lakhs each. The court acquitted Jigna Vora and the sim card dealer Joseph Paulsen.
The Motive Behind the Murder
According to the prosecution, a group of men associated with Chhota Rajan, namely Satish Kaliya, Anil Waghmode, Abhijeet Shinde, Nilesh Shendge, Arun Dake, Mangesh Agawane, and Sachin Gaikwad, trailed Dey after he left his mother’s residence. Kalya, using a .32 bore pistol, shot him near Powai garden, following which the gang escaped from the scene. Investigators revealed that Chhota Rajan, feeling displeased with how he was depicted as a minor criminal in a book that Dey intended to write, made multiple attempts to prevent Dey from writing stories or books about him; however, when Dey did not pay any heed, Rajan gave the order for his assassination and hired a contract killer for Rs 5 Lakhs. The book, titled Chindi – Rags to Riches aimed to compile the life stories of 20 gangsters who had come from humble beginnings.
- He was very fond of his bike and called it Rani.
- On 13 July 2016, the Chowk near Dmart supermarket in Powai was renamed J Dey Chowk.
- In 2023, after 12 years of his murder, a web series Scoop was made which was loosely based on the circumstances around his murder. His role was titled Jaideb Sen and played by Prosenjit Chatterjee. Jigna Vora‘s depiction was titled Jagruti Pathak and played by Karishma Tanna.