Pravin sentenced to life for killing Pramod Mahajan

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Mumbai, Dec 18 (UNI) Pravin Mahajan, younger brother of senior BJP leader Pramod Mahajan was today sentenced to life imprisonment by a Sessions court for killing the former Union Minister, near 20 months after the tragic incident shook the political establishment in the country.

Additional Sessions Judge S P Davare, who had convicted Pravin yesterday, pronounced the quantum of sentence today. While awarding the life sentence, the judge also imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 on him.

Pravin was also awarded three years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000 on charges of house trespass.

Earlier, special public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam pressed for death penalty for the convict, contending that this was the ''rarest of the rare'' cases.

Pravin was accused of allegedly shooting his elder brother Pramod on April 22 last year at the late BJP leaders Worli residence, wounding him seriously. Thereafter, surrendered along with his 0.32 bore pistol. The police filed a 650-page chargesheet before the court on July 14 last year.

Pramod had succumbed to injuries on May 3 at P D Hinduja hospital.

The court said copies of the judgement, which runs into more than 300 pages, will be handed over to the convict on December 28.

Talking to mediapersons later, Adv Nikam said the prosecution, after receiving a copy of the judgement, will go in appeal and demand a harsher punishment.

Mr Gopinath Munde, brother-in-law of the slain leader, when asked for his reaction to the sentence, said ''We have got justice after 20 months.'' ''We are still going through the trauma caused by Pramod Mahajan's loss, and this will take several years to heal,'' the BJP national general secretary added.

Mr Munde was present in the court along with Pramod Mahajan's widow Rekha, son Rahul and daughter Poonam, when Pravin was sentenced.

Maharashtra BJP president Nitin Gadkari also expressed his happiness over the life sentence to Pravin.

During the 20-month long trial, the prosecution had examined 32 witnesses, including Rekha Mahajan. She had identified the accused and told the court that he had shot Pramod.

Apart from Rekha, other prominent witnesses were Mr Munde, his wife Pragnya, Pramod Mahajan's daughter Poonam Rao and others.

The defence had examined three witnesses, including the accused and his wife Sarangi.

The judge added that there had been some lapses in the investigations. When the accused had surrendered before the police, he could have been produced before a magistrate for recording his statement and finding out the motive behind the murder. But, the police did not do so.

UNI

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