Mumbai, April 22: Pramod Mahajan, the new-age politician in designer clothes who drove a Mitsubishi Lancer and was among the first to flaunt a cellphone, was fighting for his life tonight after being shot thrice by a younger brother seemingly suffering from an inferiority complex.
“Life as brother of a prominent personality became a curse to me.... I am a poor brother of a rich man,” Praveen Mahajan, a building contractor, told police.
BJP leader Pramod, known as much for his ability to get things done as for his love of the good life, was attacked at his 15th-floor flat in upscale Worli allegedly because he treated Praveen, 45, “like dirt”.
The immediate provocation seemed to be that he wouldn’t look up from his newspaper to talk to his youngest brother.
The former Union minister was plugged on to life support at the PD Hinduja Hospital after four hours of surgery to deal with critical injuries to his liver, small gut, pancreas and a major blood vessel.
The 56-year-old was “quite critical” and still “oozing blood” after being given 40 bottles of blood, doctors said, adding that the bullets hadn’t been removed as this wasn’t crucial to recovery.
Praveen drove to Worli police station after the 8 am shooting and surrendered his licensed .32 Browning automatic, police sources said.
He alleged that Pramod, the eldest of three brothers, never gave him money and humiliated him and his family in public. “Even his personal assistants insulted me.” He claimed he had fired in a “fit of rage”.
City police chief Anami Roy dismissed this, saying there seemed to be no “immediate, grave and sudden provocation. Obviously, he had made up his mind' because of personal reasons.”
Officers said a person who shoots in anger would flee and not surrender calmly with the weapon.
Roy also laughed off the contention of Praveen’s lawyer that his client was of unsound mind, saying: “He talked quite logically to police during sustained interrogation.”
Praveen’s statement, recorded by the police, suggests he had come prepared for a showdown.
“I had been seeking (an) appointment with Pramod for the last 15 days. I, therefore, decided to visit him early in the morning to accost him for his behaviour,” it says.
“He was reading newspapers and refused to acknowledge my presence. Vahini (Pramod’s wife Rekha) offered me a cup of tea, but dada refused to talk.”
Praveen claims his pent-up anger exploded at this point and he shot his brother before the eyes of his family. He will be produced in court tomorrow.
A psychiatrist, Harish Shetty, said four criteria determine if an accused can claim insanity as defence.
“Whether there was a mental disorder, whether he showed a lack of reason, whether he didn’t know the consequences of his actions, and whether he was unable to stop his actions. Raman Raghav, the serial killer, was a confirmed paranoid schizophrenic and fulfilled all four criteria.”
Praveen had last night treated the third brother and his wife, who had arrived from Nagpur, to dinner at a restaurant in Thane, where he lives. His family said he behaved normally and ate a paan before going to bed.
Today, as Praveen drove towards Worli, his wife and children thought he was out on morning walk and had forgotten his mobile. If the police are right, Praveen knew he wouldn’t need it.