In a major turnaround in the Pramod Mahajan murder trial, key eyewitness and wife of the deceased Bharatiya Janata Party leader, Rekha Mahajan told Judge Shrihari Davare on Tuesday that “Pravin had come eight to 10 days before the incident and demanded Rs 1 crore from Pramod failing which he would have to face dire consequences”.
Rekha's statement, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam claimed, could prove that money was a motive behind the alleged killing.
However, the defence alleged the prosecution had tutored Rekha as she had not mentioned the incident in her police statement or even to her family — except brother-in-law Gopinath Munde — for a year.
Rekha, who completed her testimony in court on Tuesday, while replying to defence lawyer Harshad Ponda on how she pushed Pravin towards the door after he had fired at Pramod Mahajan, said she had heard Pravin murmuring: "Maazha ayekla nahin tar ata fal bhog (You did not listen to me so now pay the price)"
After the cross-examination, prosecutor Nikam, who was ready to re-examine Rekha, submitted various Supreme Court judgments to state that he could re-examine the witness. When Nikam asked her to clarify the statement, which she voluntarily made in court, a weeping Rekha said about 10 days before the alleged murder on April 22, 2006, Pravin visited them at around 9.30 pm. He demanded Rs 1 crore and when Pramod refused, he had allegedly threatened him.
Rekha said she had narrated the incident to Munde, but Pramod had asked him not to take any action or to speak to Pravin about it.
However, during cross-examination Ponda alleged that, “Rekha, who was aware the motive for the murder was important, had not informed the police during her statement recorded on April 27, 2006”.