After being under fire for the slow pace of investigations into Mid-Day crime reporter Jyotirmoy Dey's murder case, the Mumbai crime branch claims to have made significant progress in the last few days.
Dey, 56, was shot dead by four unidentified assailants on June 11 near his residence at the Mumbai suburb of Powai.
Investigators have made crucial breakthroughs especially after cracking two of the four email IDs operated by the slain journalist.
Investigators have managed to crack a rediffmail and a gmail account of J Dey, while work is underway to crack the other two accounts.
While J Dey used his rediffmail account more for his personal communications connected to his finances etc, it's his gmail account that's keeping investigators busy.
There are close to 3,000 mails and 250 draft mails in this account. "After several attempts at cracking his account, it took a relatively high-end TIFR server to crack Dey's 16-digit password," revealed an officer closely linked with the investigations.
Sources claimed that the emails have given a significant boost to the investigations as they throw light into several aspects of the extremely private journalist that Dey was.
Additional Commissioner (crime) Deven Bharti said, "While the 3,000 emails in his gmail account are an assortment of links and information that Dey was more interested in, it's the collection of 250 drafts that are very crucial as they give us an insight into what he was planning to do."
A detailed scrutiny of Dey's emails and call data records reveal his private nature. According to a high placed source, Dey rarely ever forwarded emails from his one account to another.
Similarly, Dey almost never used his mobile phones for long conversations, and almost always preferred to make the call via public telephone.
Dey also received international and local calls from people he trusted. Investigations into Dey's call data records show that he had received several VOIP (voice over internet protocol) calls from abroad, a service preferred by people connected with the underworld to avoid getting traced or tapped.
A few days before his death, Dey had also spoken to underworld don Santosh Shetty, a source said.
"I don't see this as a revenge killing. The manner and urgency with which Dey was killed clearly indicate that he was murdered to prevent him from doing something," Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) Himanshu Roy told rediff.com.
Several investigating teams are probing as many as seven different angles to the case, but sources have confirmed to rediff.com that two of these seven are emerging as more pertinent. So far close to 150 persons have been questioned as part of the investigations.
From one eyewitness on day one, crime branch sleuths now have five eyewitnesses to the gruesome incident who have helped the investigating teams in reconstructing the case to a great extent.
"We have reconstructed the entire day starting from the morning to 3.30 pm including the escape of the assailants. There is still a gap of half an hour which we need to figure out. We are working on it," Roy said.
The cops are now aiming to crack the case before the next hearing in the Bombay high court slated for July 6.