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Pravin’s tell-all sparks furore

india Updated: Apr 13, 2009 01:47 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
Pravin’s tell-all sparks furore

Pravin Mahajan, who is undergoing a life term for murdering his elder brother and late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, has sparked a new controversy with some writings that threaten to tell all.

The notes running into 175 pages, titled My Album, talk about “dark side” of his elder brother’s personal and political life. Though it is yet to be published, two newspapers carried sections from the notes calling them excerpts.

Pramod Mahajan died on May 3, 2006 of gunshot wounds suffered a few days earlier after being shot by his brother Pravin. After a trial, Pravin was sentenced to life imprisonment. His testimony was in camera, with the court barring its publication. It dealt with why he killed Pramod.

Questioning the authenticity of the book, Pramod’s family said it was a “complete lie” and “character assassination arising out of a political conspiracy”.

Pramod’s daughter Poonam Mahajan-Rao, who wanted to contest elections but didn’t get a BJP ticket, said: “Everyone knows all this (the matter that appeared in a daily) is false. I will not comment any further because the matter is sub-judice. My first priority is to work for my party’s (BJP) victory in the Lok Sabha elections.”

Pramod’s other younger brother Prakash Mahajan told a media conference in Mumbai that Pravin was “trying to prove his point in a wrong manner”. He added, “Pravin is a pervert. His book is malicious, defaming and smacks of a political conspiracy.”

Prakash said his oldest brother’s character was spotless. “My late brother’s marriage was never in any sort of trouble. He was a family man who loved his wife, children, brothers and sisters.” Prakash accused Pravin of “emotionally blackmailing” the BJP leader before his death.

Prakash also questioned the “timing” of publication of allegations, but refused to name any political party as being behind it.

He claimed Pravin was disgruntled because “his self interests were not being taken care of” and he had got used to “getting everything free”.

Gopinath Munde, Pramod’s brother-in-law and BJP national general secretary, also suspected a political conspiracy. “I want to know how the book’s contents were moved out of the jail. I doubt if Pravin penned the matter (published on Sunday).”

But Pravin’s wife, Sarangi, said, “It is not directed against any individual, party or group and should not be construed as such.”

She said in a statement, “This book should be treated as an ordinary book. It doesn't include any of the court statements which were in-camera.”

She also said this book is not an autobiography of her husband, merely an authentic account of certain incidents in his life which he experienced.

As BJP leaders too suspected a “Congress-hand” in the timing of the book, the Congress wanted L.K. Advani to introspect.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “Advani and the senior leadership of the BJP should start introspecting. They project themselves as a party with a difference. But, their true chaal (conduct), charitra (character) and chehra (face) are based upon giving the most important and powerful positions to those who are inspired by the basest instincts of the mankind.”

Singhvi said, “Before giving sermons on corruption, suraj (good governance) and development, Advani needs to set his own house in order first. One cannot forget that the principal actor in this drama was handpicked and empowered by Advani.”