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Indian crime boss Rajendra Sadashiv Nikhalje, center, is escorted by Indonesian police in 2015 after his arrest in Bali. A Mumbai court today sentenced him to life in prison for the murder of journalist Jyotirmoy Dey. (Reuters/Nyoman Budhiana/Antara Foto)

Mumbai court sentences crime boss, 8 others to life in jail for journalist murder

May 2, 2018 11:29 AM ET

New Delhi, May 2, 2018--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomed a Mumbai court's convictions today of nine people, including the mastermind of the murder of investigative journalist Jyotirmoy Dey nearly seven years ago. A court that hears organized crime cases found crime boss Rajendra Sadashiv Nikhalje, alias Chhota Rajan, guilty of ordering Dey's murder because of articles and books that Dey wrote, according to news reports. The court sentenced Nikhalje and eight others to life in prison for murder and criminal conspiracy, according to reports.

"Justice for Jyotirmoy Dey marks an important first step in overcoming India's terrible record of impunity for murdered journalists," CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler said in Washington, D.C. "Let this case serve as a catalyst for the cases of dozens of other murdered journalists who have yet to receive any justice at all."

The court acquitted Jigna Vora, a former deputy bureau chief of Asian Age, of conspiring to murder Dey, according to reports.

Dey, who covered crime and corruption for Midday, was shot dead in the Mumbai suburb of Powai on June 11, 2011, according to CPJ research. If today's conviction is upheld, it will mark the first time Indian authorities achieved full justice in any case of at least 33 journalists murdered there since CPJ began keeping records in 1992. The only other conviction of which CPJ is aware was overturned on appeal, according to the 2016 special report "Dangerous Pursuit."

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