Reporter's killing shines light on dark side of Mumbai

For much of the two decades he spent working as a crime reporter, Jyotirmoy Dey spent his time chronicling the dark underbelly of India's financial capital, Mumbai. He wrote about gangland killings and police hit squads, about gangster dons and movie-star beauties. A towering 6ft 3in and quietly spoken, his byline was always J Dey.

But then Mr Dey switched from reporting on the news to becoming the news. This weekend, as the 56-year-old was making his way home on his scooter to the Powai neighbourhood in the north of the city, he was approached by four men on motorbikes who took aim and fired at him. He was hit five times and pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital.

"I promise you son, I will not breathe my last until I see all the murderers behind bars," Mr Dey's mother, Bina, wailed as her son was cremated on Sunday, an event that was attended by several hundred colleagues and friends.

The killing of Mr Dey has sparked outrage among the city's journalistic community as well as among its citizens. Yesterday, reporters marched in the city to protest against his killing and demand the local authorities do more to protect them.

"[This killing] underlines the increasing threat investigative journalists are being subjected to by powerful political and business interests indulging in illegal acts," the Mumbai Press Club said in a statement. "Scores of incidents of journalists being beaten or threatened by politicians and local mafia have been brought to the fore in recent weeks."

It has also highlighted the often deadly environment of Mumbai's underworld, a place often glamourised by the city's movie industry and a world of which Mr Dey had been an observer since he started working as a journalist in 1994.

After quitting a career with a major corporation, he threw himself into covering the crime scene and had served in that role for several of India's national newspapers. He was considered to have unparalleled contacts, both within the police and among the criminal world.

Over the years, the journalist with a taste for checked shirts, photography and trekking, had written about police encounter killings (when suspects were deliberately gunned down with no attempt made to arrest them), the network – known as the D-company – of the fugitive criminal Dawood Ibrahim, and links between criminals and Bollywood.

He famously revealed a purported tape of the leading actor Salman Khan boasting on the telephone to his former partner Aishwarya Rai of his links to leading Mumbai criminals. In addition to his newspaper reporting, he had written two books about the sprawling city's crime scene, one of which was entitled Zero Dial: The Dangerous World of Informers. He was often mistaken for a plain-clothes policeman and many of his colleagues referred to him by his nickname, "the Commander".

"Mr Dey had two personalities," said Sachin Kalbag, editor-in-chief of Mid Day, where the reporter was employed when he was murdered. "He was a very secretive crime reporter who could be working for months on a story. Then he was also a gentle giant. He referred to every male colleague as 'Sir', whether it was the most junior person or someone senior. He often shared jokes."

It is to the world of organised crime that Mumbai police are apparently looking for clues about the killers of Mr Dey, who was married to a fellow reporter. Mr Dey had recently been working on an investigation into a local oil mafia and had also written about an attack on the brother of Dawood Ibrahim, Iqbal Kaskar, in which one of his bodyguards was killed. The attack was apparently carried out by the gang of a criminal rival.

Other theories suggest the journalist may have angered a local senior policeman, a so-called encounter specialist who was moved from his position after a report the journalist had published.

Yesterday, the police in Mumbai issued an artist's impression of one of the men believed to have been involved in the shooting on Saturday afternoon. An analysis of CCTV footage taken at the scene suggests the attackers had shot Mr Dey and then fled in less than a minute.

So far, police say there are few clues, though they have begun extensive inquiries. It is just the sort of case Mr Dey would have relished investigating.

Suggested Topics
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
i100
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
News
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
video
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little