Eleven days after the murder of Mid-Day crime reporter Jyotirmoy Dey at the Mumbai suburb of Powai, the city crime branch on Tuesday submitted a 24-page status report before the bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Ranjit More in the Bombay high court.
The report was submitted in a sealed cover as a 'confidential' document.
The report outlines the progress in the investigation so far. The report also makes references to seven files pertaining to various angles of the investigation, including forensic and scientific investigations and the call record details of Dey's two mobile phones.
The court had allowed the Mumbai Press Club and Marathi Patrakar Parishad, who are also seeking transfer of probe to CBI, to intervene and file affidavits, if required.
The petitioners and intervenors told the court on Tuesday they were not in favour of the police getting two more weeks to probe further and argued that one week would be enough.
After carefully perusing the report and four out of the seven files, Justice Desai observed, "We share your anxiety, but from what we have gone through we feel we need to give time to the Mumbai crime branch. They are making efforts. They are awaiting something."
The next date for the hearing has been fixed for July 6, and the Mumbai crime branch has been instructed to file another status report.
The court also turned down the request of petitioners advocate V P Patil and journalist Ketan Tirodkar who were demanding an earlier date as a deadline for the investigation.
However, the court felt satisfied with the status report and direction in which the investigations are progressing. The court said, "We will take them (the investigators) to task if we see that they have not done things properly."
A contingent of 10 officials of the Mumbai crime branch was present in the court to attend the hearing. Days after Dey was murdered in broad daylight on June 11, Patil had filed a petition in the high court seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation probe. For now, however, the case stays with the Mumbai crime branch.
"The court has expressed satisfaction on the way the investigation is progressing. We are hopeful that the case will be cracked soon," Mumbai's Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) Himanshu Roy told rediff.com.
PTI adds: Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday ruled out handing over to CBI the probe into the murder and asserted that Mumbai police would crack the case soon.
"If the high court orders the government to do it, the case would be given to the CBI. But, the Mumbai police would put forth its case before the court properly," Chavan told a group of editors from print and electronic media who called on him on Tuesday afternoon.
Chavan said Mumbai police were working round-the-clock on the murder case and will crack it soon.
Referring to the demand for separate legislation to prevent attacks on journalists, the chief minister said the government was considering a proposal to include professionals from creative fields like authors, artistes along with journalists in the draft bill.
He also said that there was no unanimity among the political as well as the media community over having a separate legislation for journalists.
Chavan said the number of fast track courts to deal with attacks on professionals like doctors, media persons will be increased.
He said if police personnel were found to be involved in the Dey murder case, nobody will be spared and stringent action will be taken against them.
Chavan said that a government committee to keep a check on attacks on journalists will be revived and strengthened with more powers.
Editor-in-Chief of Indian Express Shekhar Gupta, N Ram, editor of The Hindu, executive editor of The Economic Times Rahul Joshi, Editor of DNA Aditya Sinha, Sachin Kalbag, editor of Mid-Day and Girish Kuber, editor of Loksatta attended the meeting.
Image: Hindu editor N Ram (left), Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta (centre) speak to mediapersons after meeting Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan (right) in Mumbai on Tuesday. Photograph: Sahil Salve