Pravin Mahajan Gets Lifer, Prosecution to Appeal for Death


Mumbai, Dec 19: Pravin Mahajan was on Tuesday sentenced to life imprisonment for the cold blooded murder of his elder brother and senior BJP leader Pramod Mahajan but the prosecution said it would appeal pressing for the maximum death penalty.

Rejecting the prosecution plea for capital punishment, additional sessions judge S P Davare said “the murder is not a rarest of rare case and therefore death need not be indicted. This is not an extreme case of grave culpability”.

The sentence was pronounced a day after Pravin (48) was convicted on the charges of murder and house trespass with the intention to commit a serious offence.

In addition to the life term for the murder, Pravin was sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment for house trespass. Both the terms will run concurrently. The convict was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs 15,000 and Rs 5,000 for the murder and trespass offences respectively.

Pravin was convicted of shooting Pramod three times with his licensed revolver at his Worli residence on the morning of April 22, 2006, Pramod succumbed to his injuries in a city hospital 12 days later.

Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said the prosecution would appeal in the high court for an enhancement of the sentence after studying the judgement.

“We will read the judgement after which we will seek an enhancement of the sentence from the Bombay high court,” Nikam told reporters outside the court. He said the murder fell in the rarest of rare case category since he has killed the “concept of brotherhood.”

Pramod Mahajan's family said justice has been done in the case though they had sympathy for the wife and children of Pravin who were suffering for his acts. During arguments on quantum of punishment, the prosecution sought death sentence for Pravin, saying he deserved no leniency since he had murdered his brother “in a brutal manner with total disregard to human life.”

Nikam said Pravin deserved death sentence as the whole case fell within the purview of “rarest of rare” category due to its brutality and cold-bloodedness.

Nikam later told reporters that there is also some attitudinal problem with Pravin as kept blaming his brother even after his death. “These blames were made to torture the family of Pramod Mahajan. Death sentence is the appropriate punishment to end this crookedness. We called it rarest of the rare because it was pre-planned,” he said.

The defence counsel, however, argued against death penalty saying the case did not fall within the ambit of “rarest of rare” category.

He said the prosecution has failed to establish the motive behind murder. Hence, awarding death sentence in the absence of vital information would be improper because if at some later stage, some other information comes up then life cannot be brought back.

Pravin was convicted under section 302 (murder) and section 449 (house trespass with an intention to commit an offence punishable with death) of the IPC.

The court relied on the statements of Pramod's widow Rekha, domestic help Mahesh Wankhede and Pramod's statement made to BJP leader Gopinath Munde while on his way to the hospital, which was treated as a dying declaration.

The judge also considered the medical evidence, ballistic reports, the handwriting expert's report and Pravin's statement, recorded in-camera after the prosecution claimed it could be defamatory to the Mahajan family.

Sarangi, wife of Pravin Mahajan, said she was completely prepared for on Tuesday's verdict and that she will challenge the life sentence awarded to her husband in the high court.

Meanwhile, Prakash Mahajan, the eldest of the Mahajan brothers, said both the families of Pramod and Pravin were ruined by this incident.

“Whatever crime has been committed by him (Pravin) and whatever evidences have been presented before the court the decision taken by it perhaps would be right,” he said.

“For us, both the days - today and May 3( the day of shooting) are equally painful,” he added.

Mahajan Murder may Remain a Mystery for 20 Years 
Mumbai: It will be after 20 years, in December 2027, that the full copy of Monday's judgment convicting Pravin Mahajan of killing his elder brother Pramod Mahajan will see the light of the day.

The reason: there are several portions in sessions judge S P Davare's judgment that are based on and mention points from Pravin's 'in-camera' testimony in November.

According to the law, in-camera testimony cannot be brought into the public domain before 20 years.

The judge had ordered recording his testimony 'in-camera' after certain private details pertaining to the late Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader's life were brought forth by Pravin.

With the judge rejecting outright the prosecution theory of financial disputes being the cause of the fratricide, an open question mark hangs over the motive behind Pramod's killing - at least for another 20 years.

Pravin had admitted before the court that he visited Pramod's house around 7:30 am on that fateful morning of April 22, 2006.

At the time, Pramod was waiting in the flat's verandah which has a magnificent bird-eye view of the city and the Arabian Sea. Then the duo went to talk in the living room; Pramod blissfully unaware of what was in store for him minutes later.

However, when Pravin started to make some more statements before the packed open court, public prosecutor Nitin Pradhan objected on the ground that the accused was making scandalous statements and requested the judge to record these 'in-camera.'

Pradhan's reasoning was that such statements by the accused would attract "public gaze" which would not help anyone, and these could be of a defamatory nature, slurring the image of the deceased who was in no position to retaliate or clarify.

Incidentally, in-camera implies a hearing which is held before the judge in the private chambers or when the public is excluded from the courtroom.

In-camera hearings are generally intended to protect victims and witnesses from undue public exposure, especially when the victims are women or minors.

However, the proceedings are still recorded by a court stenographer. The judge may then decide to seal this record if the material is extremely sensitive or likely to prejudice one or the other side in the matter.

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Comment on this article

  • Nelson Lewis, Kingdom of Bahrain

    Fri, Dec 21 2007

    I agree with the comments made by Mr. Leo Fernandes. People will come to know the facts only if Pravin Mahajan is subjected to narco-analysis test. I just wonder why he has not been subjected to narco-analysis test. I feel that the late Pramod Mahajan's wife and Gopinath Munde must be quite jittery that under narco-analysis test, Pravin Mahajan may sing like a canary and spill a lot of beans which may be an embarrassment not only to them, but probably to the BJP party.

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  • sathish k, Kundapur

    Sat, Dec 22 2007

    Definitely it will remain a mystery for another 20 years and he will then either come out or passes away.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Balkoor Ashok Poojari, Dubai/kundapura

    Fri, Dec 21 2007

    Life imprisonment is not enough, wait and see! he might come out in 2 years time!!

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  • Charles D'Mello, Pangala

    Thu, Dec 20 2007

    Pravin Mahajan doesn't seems to be repenting for his mistake!!!? In such cases death sententence shall be the suitable one, otherwise when he comes out he may commit another murder and justify his actions. Death sentence shall be the sentence in case cold blooded murders.

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  • Tlangu, KSA

    Thu, Dec 20 2007

    He should have been hanged for the crime he has done, instead he's roaming with no tension on his face. he should have been beaten till death. these kind of criminals should be handed over to the public.

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