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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Pravin Mahajan?s wife speaks out

In an exclusive interview, Sarangi tells Sarita Kaushik story of two brothers.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2006 02:45 IST
Sarita Kaushik
Sarita Kaushik

Sarangi Mahajan had kept silent all these days. She knew everybody wanted to hear the inside story — the reason why husband Pravin killed his elder brother and high-profile BJP leader Pramod — told by an insider. But Sarangi did not oblige.

On Tuesday, she spoke to HT. In an exclusive interview, she told the story of the two brothers — and of the outsider — Pramod’s secretary Vivek Moitra. Excerpts:

You were known to share a special relationship with Pramod Mahajan

I shared a very good relationship with Bhauji (Pramod). He used to tell me: 'You're my responsibility. I know that my brother is hot-headed and headstrong. If you face any problem, tell me. I'll handle it.' Pravin and I have had our share of problems — as in every marriage — but things never reached a stage where I had to take help. Yet, it was reassuring. Pramodji actually had a special love for our family, especially my children.

What were the ties between the two families like? When did they last visit you?

They had all come over in 1997 for my son’s thread ceremony. We had a great time. Whenever I went to Mumbai (from Thane), I used to call upon Pramodji's wife. Whenever Pramodji was in town, he would visit us. I don't think even his family knew this.

Then what went wrong?

I don't know. But things started souring over the past five years.

I could sense Pravin's irritation. It spilled over at home. But he never told me anything. After marriage, he had made one thing clear: women of the house were not supposed to interfere in anything that transpired between the men.

Pravin was obsessively proud of his brother and had immense respect for him. He was also intensely sensitive about Pramodji and his reputation. The greatest thing for him was when his brother called him up on his birthday. But that had stopped for the past five years. And the frustration could be seen in Pravin's behaviour. Their relationship had become artificial — one of one-sided affection.

My children also felt the change. Once when my son visited Pramodji's wife, she said he should have called before visiting. He was taken aback. Why should I call my aunt or grandmother if I have to meet them, he asked me. But he didn't tell his father.

There have been stories Pramod's secretary was haughty with Pravin? That Pramod had started favouring his son-in-law Anand Rao more?

He had nothing against Rao. Pravin was happy his niece was settled. But (Vivek) Moitra was a different story. He was obviously spoiling Rahul. Pravin had even mentioned this to Pramodji. But Pramodji paid no heed. Moitra used to try and dominate Pravin. He adopted a particular condescending way of speaking to Pravin. Pravin resented the need for a PA between brothers.

So do you think that the situation was working towards Pravin killing Pramod? Is it true that you hid his revolver a couple of times?

I never imagined this would happen. When I heard of it, I thought everything was over. I never hid the revolver though I never liked the idea that Pravin possessed one. I felt that people like us did not need one. I knew where he kept the revolver but I never touched it. Knowing my husband's temper, I never let him know what I thought.

You met Pravin for the first time in jail on May 29. Did he try to vindicate himself?

It was a 15-20 minute meet. I didn't ask him why he did it. But he must have thought that I would. So he told me on his own. He said that he had gone to Pramod's house to give the revolver — put it at his brother's feet — and to tell him that he was not treating him well and that it was troubling him.

He said he did not remember anything after that. He says he does not even recall the conversation they had. He told me that he felt so bad after his brother's death that he did not have food for a couple of days. But I also saw him looking fresh. I could feel relief on his face — an expression that has been missing for the past five years.

You seem to be battling alone. Did the rest of the Mahajan family (including Gopinath Munde) shun you and your children?

When the incident occurred, my mother-in-law had called. My brother kept in touch with Munde. At that time, Munde had told him to keep me away from the funeral or the hospital as party cadres could turn unmanageable. He said other decisions could be taken later.