Pramod Mahajan had received a 'threatening' SMS from his brother Pravin a few days prior to being shot at by him last year, Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary and a relative of the late leader Gopinath Munde told a court on Wednesday.
Munde, while being examined by the prosecution in the Pramod Mahajan murder case, told the court in Mumbai that Pramod had received the message which stated, 'now there will be war. There will either be victory or an end to it all...'
According to Munde, Pramod received the message a few days after Pravin had gone to his residence, demanded Rs one crore and said that he would face the consequences for not paying him the amount.
After receiving the message, Pramod had called Munde -- his brother-in-law -- and asked him to speak to Pravin about it, the BJP leader told the court.
Following Munde's statement, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told the court that this was a new development, which had not emerged during earlier investigations in the case. He sought to defer the recording of Munde's statement since the police will now need to look into this matter.
The court adjourned the recording of Munde's statement until Thursday and asked the police to probe Munde's claims.
Pramod was allegedly shot multiple times by Pravin at his Worli residence in South Mumbai on April 22 last year. He succumbed to the injuries on May 3.
According to Rekha, Pramod's widow and a key witness in the murder case, she had called Munde, who lived in the same building as Pramod, after her husband was allegedly shot at by his brother Pravin.
The prosecution said that the police had recovered three telephones, including two mobile phones, from Pravin, which they would examine to see if such a message had been sent.
However, this was opposed by defence counsel Harshad Ponda who alleged that it was not coincidental that this detail was revealed for the first time.
He alleged the prosecution was developing its case during the examination of its witnesses, which was denied by Nikam.
After hearing the arguments from both sides, sessions judge S P Davare granted the police permission to take the telephones that were in the court's custody in order to examine them for the SMS that Munde had spoken of.
Earlier, Munde, while being examined by the prosecution, said that on the morning of April 22, 2006 he and his wife were called from their residence by Rekha Mahajan who told them that Pramod had been shot.
While transporting Pramod to the Hinduja Hospital, Munde said that Pramod had asked him, "What crime have I committed that Pravin shot me?", and he had replied that it was possible that it might have been due to Pravin's greed.
When asked the reason for his answer, Munde told the court he had two reasons for it.
The first, Munde said, was that he and his wife were informed by Rekha about 10 to 12 days prior to the shooting that Pravin had gone to Pramod's residence and said that he would face the consequences for not giving him Rs 1 crore.
Munde said that Rekha had expressed concern over Pravin's statement at the time but Pramod had told him not to worry since Pravin must have said that in anger.
The second reason, Munde said was due to the SMS Pramod had received from Pravin.