The sessions court, which pronounced Pravin Mahajan guilty of killing his elder brother Pramod, relied on the latter’s wife Rekha being an eyewitness even though no motive has been established.
“The murder was pre-planned,” said judge SP Davare at a packed courtroom while holding Pravin guilty of murder and criminal trespass in the nine-month-old case. “Pravin went to Pramod’s house with an intention to kill but the motive behind the killing is still not before the court.”
As he stood in the dock, a restless Pravin, dressed in a white kurta-pyjama, managed to smile at the media. Soon after the conviction, Pravin’s wife Sarangi broke down. “We will appeal in the high court,” she said later.
On Tuesday, Davare will hand out either the capital punishment or a life sentence to 48-year-old Pravin, who drove from his Thane home to the senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader’s Worli home on the morning of April 22, 2006. Pravin pumped three bullets in Pramod chest and abdomen before surrendering at the Worli police station. Pramod succumbed to the bullet wounds on May 3.
“A brother would have rushed his elder brother to the hospital if he was shot at accidentally. But this man left the house calmly, which proves his intention to kill,” said Davare.
The court rejected that money was a motive as reasoned by the prosecution because Pravin’s demand of Rs 1 crore from Pramod was brought up in court a year after the killing, which Davare said was “clearly an after thought”.
Davare rejected Pramod’s “dying declaration” to Rekha — Pramod was still conscious and he told me to call Gopinath Munde and directed our maidservant to call my daughter Poonam — saying that a dying declaration has to be given before an independent person or a police officer.