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Support for Rahul, scorn for father

Mumbai, June 14: Praveen Mahajan today claimed the shooting of his brother Pramod ' to which he had reportedly confessed to police ' and the drug controversy involving Rahul Mahajan were linked but provided no explanation.

“The two incidents are inter-linked. Mumbai and Delhi police should coordinate their investigation,” he said sitting inside a police van outside the Bhoiwada magistrate’s court, which extended his judicial remand to June 28.

Police investigations have so far revealed no connection between the April 22 shooting and the drug scandal.

Praveen blamed Pramod for the second, saying he had failed to bring up his son properly.

But he sounded sympathetic to his nephew. “Rahul has been made a scapegoat. He is a good boy. His birthday falls next month. I am willing to undergo his sentence,” he said.

“His father did not inculcate good habits in him and did not give him proper education. I had warned his father and bhabhi (Pramod’s wife Rekha) to make him fall in line. Both the people who spoiled him are no more,” he said, alluding to Pramod and his secretary Bibek Moitra.

Rahul and Bibek were rushed to Delhi’s Apollo Hospital in the small hours of June 2 after a late-night party allegedly featuring drugs at 7, Safdarjung Road, the official residence of Pramod. Bibek was declared dead on arrival.

Asked whether he blamed Bibek for the shooting and the drug scandal, Praveen said: “What I can say about people who are no more'”

But he repeated the allegation that Bibek and Pramod’s personal assistants didn’t provide him access to his brother, adding: “The Mahajan family had been hostage to the tentwallahs and personal secretaries.”

Asked about the murder charges against him, Praveen said: “I haven’t done anything. I will say everything during the trial. There are many reasons.”

The Bhoiwada court rejected Praveen’s plea for psychiatric tests, referring to a medical report from JJ Hospital that said he was mentally stable as well as his wife Sarangi’s statement distancing herself from claims that he wasn’t. Praveen’s lawyer Nandkumar Rajurkar said he would challenge the order in the sessions court.

Praveen told the magistrate he was disturbed and upset over the events of the past one-and-a-half months, especially the Rahul scandal.

“It’s a national tragedy,” he said, but the court advised him not to talk about it since it was not concerned with a Delhi case.

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