MUMBAI, APR 22 (PTI)
Pramod Mahajan, a top generation next BJP leader, was tonight battling for life hours after his younger brother pumped three bullets into him in a sensational attack which police described as "pre-meditated".
After four hours of emergency surgery to deal with critical injuries in his liver, lower chest, abdomen and pancreas, doctors at Hinduja Hospital here said the 56-year old high-profile BJP General Secretary was "quite critical" and has been put on life support system.
Three bullets that caused extensive damage to organs leading to massive bleeding were not removed. Two Army doctors, specialised in warfare injuries, were brought in this evening to help the medical team.
The former Union Minister was shot at his Worli residence by his brother Praveen, 10 years younger to him, following a heated argument. Mahajan’s wife Rekha and other family members were witness to the shooting in the 14th floor apartment.
Police said the attack took place due to "personal reasons" and the assailant, who surrendered after the shooting and was arrested, reportedly told his interrogators that he had taken the step because his brother "ill-treated" him. Praveen’s lawyer, however, claimed that he was "mentally ill" and that a "mentally ill person is an innocent person".
Dismissing the lawyer’s claim, Police Commissioner A N Roy said, "there is nothing to indicate that he (Praveen) is not a man of unsound mind. He talked quite logically to police during sustained interrogation". Roy said Praveen’s action was not a matter of "grave and sudden provocation. Obviously, he had made up his mind…He had fired three bullets because of personal reasons".
Major bleeding stopped after the surgery but "he is still oozing" blood from extensive liver injuries, Dr Anupam Verma, Dean of the Hospital, said reading out from a medical bulletin.
Mahajan was given 25 bottles of blood to make up for the loss.
Late in the evening, the hospital issued a fresh bulletin which said that Mahajan continued to be on ventilator and certain investigative procedures may be taken up tonight to decide upon future course of treatment.
(Reopens DEL82) Dr Sudhanshu Bhattacharya, one of the doctors who operated upon him, said in the evening that Mahajan was under observation and expressed hope that he will be "still better" after couple of hours.
"I think he is still alright. The bleeding which was there is little. I hope it is not accumulating inside. Let us keep the fingers crossed. We hope everything goes alright", he told NDTV adding, "he is stabilised. He is not absolutely deteriorating".
However, he said, "you never know about all these bleeding. The clot could be obstructing the bleeding and somwetimes the clot gets dislodged and the bleeding again starts. So, we have to just wait and watch. Honestly, you just cannot absolutely opine." Bhattacharya said the bullets embedded in Mahajan’s body will have "no consequence in his recovery".
"The bullets can remain there also but what is important is the passage of bullets through the body. So, all injured organs through which bullet has passed, we should repair them. Its getting dislodged under skin does not make a difference".
Pravin, a small-time builder, shot Mahajan at a point blank range when the BJP leader was getting ready for the day, pumping three bullets from his Browning pistol.
Mahajan was taken to the hospital by his brother-in-law and senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde and a doctor, both living in the same complex.
Among the prominent personalities visiting the hospital were senior BJP leader L K Advani, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray, Governor S M Krishna, Chief Ministers, Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray and MNS Chief Raj Thackeray.