I was arrested acquitted after being accused in journalist Jyotirmoy Dey’s murder.
I was working as a crime reporter with mid-day and J Dey was my fellow journalist.
Dey was shot dead in Powai by motorcycle borne sharp shooters in 2011, in a plot hatched by gangster Chhota Rajan
Hours after his murder the police bashed into my house and told me to come along. “They said I was arrested for killing senior journalist J Dey” That was the toughest moment for my family watching me being arrested.
I was falsely accused for providing information about Dey. “When I was arrested, people called me a murderer”.
I was produced in the court and sent to the police custody.
My days in prison were spent scrubbing toilets and eating scattered food with strands of hair. Casually I was even asked to strip by lady constables while I was on my periods.
I crossed paths with constables who were friendly and I also bonded with Pragya Thakur in prison.
My liveliest memories outshine are the celebrations. Holi, Christmas, Ramadan every festival was celebrated fasts were observed. You learn the value of life and its simple joys when you are confined in that small place
The Bombay High Court acquitted me of all charges as there was no evidence instigating my involvement in the murder. But I had already spent nine months in Byculla Jail before being released on bail in 2012.
After my release “I lived in a constant state of fear and lack of trust. If I saw people looking at me I always felt that they were judging me”. For my family It was a wound which took a lot of time to heal.
I have documented my journey to hell and back in prison in my biography, Behind Bars in Byculla. The book talks about my journey as a journalist, how I got mired in case and my time in jail. Soon my prison memoir is to be made into a film.
There are days when I miss the rush of a newsroom but it’s a closed chapter and I have no regrets. It’s been 9 years after the incident But instead of being a victim, I chose to be a warrior.
I was reborn, now I practice healing, Tarot card reading and astrology. I also do research for web series and movies.
(Interviewed and written by Raavya Sarda)