The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Praveen calm, plot fuzzy

Mumbai, April 23: Sarangi, the girl apparently Pramod Mahajan had chosen to be his brother’s bride, has said her husband Praveen had been “depressed” for some days but had not revealed the reasons for his mental state.

Praveen’s lawyer has also been arguing that his client, who shot his famous older brother thrice yesterday morning, was mentally unstable.

Nandkumar Rajurkar, the lawyer, said since it was a personal matter between the brothers, it was necessary to find out the accused’s state of mind.

Looking for an answer to why Praveen shot the BJP leader, police had not arrived at any conclusion but dismissed statements about mental instability by both his wife and lawyer.

Joint commissioner of police Arup Patnaik said he was not aware of reports about Praveen being mentally unstable. “I don’t know who is spreading all this which has not come on record, nor do I have to give much credence to all this.”

Patnaik said Praveen’s lawyer was saying it with his client’s interests in mind.

“He (Praveen) is perfectly okay. He is in total control and command of his faculties.”

On Sunday evening, a JJ Hospital test confirmed that Praveen was mentally stable, a PTI report said. Praveen was taken for the medical test to the hospital yesterday evening.

A Bhoiwada court magistrate remanded him in police custody till April 29 after rejecting his lawyer’s submission that he was mentally unstable and should first be taken for a psychiatric test.

Charged with attempt to murder, Praveen appeared calm throughout his presence in the court. Dressed in a white kurta-pyjama, the 45-year-old spoke once during the proceedings, denying he had any torture complaints against the police. After the hearing, Praveen even smiled and joked with a Worli police officer before being taken back to the Bhoiwada lock-up.

After firing thrice at Pramod, he had walked down from his brother’s 15th-floor flat instead of taking the lift, and hailed a cab to drive him to the Worli police station where he surrendered.

In a statement to the police, Praveen said he wanted to kill his brother because he had treated him and his family like “dirt”.

The police have not been able to interrogate Pramod’s wife Rekha, who had witnessed the shooting and was said to be in shock. The police told the court that they had also not traced the driver of the taxi that took Praveen to the police station.

A police team visited Praveen’s second-floor flat at Jinja Apartments in Thane this morning and sources said it seized a computer, a personal diary and his mobile phone. The investigation was focused on collecting evidence to establish that Praveen’s attack was premeditated and exploring the reasons.

Prasad Pullewar, Sarangi’s brother who was present on Friday night at a private dinner at a Thane restaurant hosted by Praveen, said: “We are very tense. My sister and her children are well. We have been praying for Mahajan’s recovery.”

BJP sources said Pramod had spotted Sarangi during a visit to a Nagpur college and chosen her as the bride for Praveen.

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