Rekha, servant were absent at the scene of offence : Defence

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Mumbai, Dec 4 (UNI) Pointing out several lacunae in evidence, the defence in the Pramod Mahajan murder case today claimed that both the eyewitnesses -- Rekha Mahajan and manservant Mahesh Wankhede -- were not present at the scene of offence on April 22 last year.

Defence counsel Harshad Ponda also alleged that accused Pravin was falsely framed by BJP leader Gopinath Munde and Rekha Mahajan, wife of the deceased BJP leader.

Adv Ponda started his submissions by reminding Rekha's examination-in-chief in which she had stated that about 25-30 newspapers were brought on the fateful day and Pramod was reading those. While some unread newspapers were lying beside him on the sofa, the read ones were lying on a mattress.

She had also stated that after serving tea to the late leader, she had gone to the kitchen for preparing tea again and put a pan with water on gas. There was also mention of serving water to Pravin in a crystal glass, he submitted.

Adv Ponda then pointed out to the court that all these important articles had not been mentioned in the panchanama conducted by the police at the scene of offence, and added that there was no mention in about where these articles were placed in the house. The fingerprint expert had found a glass placed on a dining table, when two glasses, and not just one, should have been found near the sofa and sofa chair, he adding.

Same was the case with the cup and saucer. When two sets of cup and saucer were expected to be placed near where the deceased and the accused were sitting, instead, a set of cup and saucer was found on the dining table, he informed.

He asked during examination as to who moved all these articles if Rekha and Mahesh had not touched them. The defence counsel further pointed out that the newspapers lying on the sofa and carpet were surprisingly found on the dining table by the investigating officer.

Pointing out discrepancies in the testimonies of Panchas, two eyewitnesses and the concerned police officers, Adv Ponda claimed that Rekha was not at all present in the living room when the firing took place and alleged that, to overcome the difficulty faced by the absence of fingerprints on any of the articles, she had cooked up the theory of using gloves.

While referring to the incident, he questioned as to why Mahesh remained a silent spectator when Rekha was allegedly pushing accused Pravin out of her house.

He claimed that the conduct of Mahesh was not natural and he was not present at the scene of offence when the firing took place.

Totally contradicting the prosecution's case, the defence counsel also claimed that the 'menseria' intention to kill the victim was absent in the case, saying that Pravin's pistol was not blocked, but in fact locked.

To corroborate his claim, Adv Ponda pointed at the panchanama, conducted by police while seizing the pistol, and informed the court that all the three remaining bullets were easily removed by the police and kept aside. He said had the fourth bullet been stuck in the barrel, the police could not have removed all the three bullets. The pistol was not blocked but locked and that proved that Pravin, though able to fire further at his elder brother had backed instead and locked his pistol for safety, he argued.

The defence counsel urged Additional Sessions Judge Shrihari Davre to consider all this and termed Rekha's deposition as absolutely false.

UNI

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