The Press Club, Mumbai welcomes the order passed by a Special Sessions MCOCA Court allowing bail to journalist Jigna Vora. The order vindicates the stand taken by the Press Club that crime reporter Vora had become a victim of the machinations of the Mumbai Police in ‘Operation Cover Up‘ after the slaying of senior journalist J.Dey.

After Jigna’s arrest on 25 November, last year, a delegation from the Press Club had met Home Minister R.R.Patil to request a review of her case. At the meeting Joint Commissioner of Police Himanshu Roy had tried to justify the arrest with a presentation of the ‘evidence’ the police had gathered against Vora. When the delegation pointed out that there was little evidence, and the case was bound to fall, the objections were brushed aside. Thereafter, not only did the Police press its charge-sheet against Jigna Vora, but it went ahead to make her the prime accused.

the Mumbai Police’s hypothesis that though Chota Rajan and his henchmen carried out the killing, it was ‘prime accused’ Jigna Vora who had whipped up Chota Rajan’s hatred against J Dey by pointing to the articles the latter had written against Rajan. Thereafter, she plotted the murder by supplying the motorcycle registration number and locations of J Dey to Chota Rajan. Her motive, according to the police: ‘professional rivalry’. At that time, the Press Club had pointed out that mercenary gangsters don’t kill journalists for ‘insulting’ articles written against them. They kill for higher stakes.

By arresting Jigna Vora, the Mumbai Police was thumbing its nose at the city’s media. Immediately after J Dey’s death on 11th June 2011, press persons carried out an agitation against police inaction. Simultaneously, television and print media exposed the ham-handed investigation and the culpability of some senior police officers. By arresting Vora, the police seemed to be saying: “See, it was one of you. Don’t blame us.” Now the wheel has turned a full circle, and ultimately Jigna Vora is likely to walk free.

Unfortunately in the reporting of the case, a section of the crime media sang the police tune without a critical eye! Even in the current reporting on the bail order, wrong emphasis has been given to the issue of Jigna Vora being a single mother; and that she suffers from asthma. The truth is: the application for bail was granted by the Court because the police could not provide an iota of evidence linking Jigna to the murder of J.Dey. It needs to be underlined that she was given bail on merit and not on ‘humanitarian grounds’ as has been made out by a section of crime writers.

Finally, if Jigna Vora is not the ‘main accused’ as the Sessions Court order seems to indicate, then who is? The mercenaries are behind bars, but who planned and paid for the operation? The jury is still out, and the Mumbai Police is in the dock again.

The life of our friend and fellow journalist J.Dey is too precious to let the his principal killers go unpunished. The hunt for J.Dey’s killers is still on.