Mobile handset figures in Pramod Mahajan murder case


Mumbai : A sessions court hearing the Pramod Mahajan murder case Monday gave a software expert, appearing for the defence, time till Friday to procure a similar cellphone instrument as used by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader at the time of his killing.

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Judge S.P. Davare gave Pune software applications engineer B. Harikrishnan time till Friday to get a Motorala-V4, which is now said to be out of production, failing which he would be permitted to use Pramod’s phone to make his point.

The prosecution took objection to the Motorala-V3 instrument which the defence expert wanted to use Monday to prove his point before the court.

Harikrishnan had testified before the court last week how an SMS could be tampered with and hence the court could not fully rely on it to provide the motive for Pramod’s murder, allegedly by his younger brother Pravin Mahajan, on April 22 last year.

He had told the court that any person using MS-Visual Studio could fabricate or modify any SMS, concoct one, or tamper with an existing one, including the sender’s name, cell number, date and time or the SMS contents.

Offering to demonstrate this, he explained that if the phone’s memory card is removed and inserted into the memory card slot of a card reader, any SMS received, sent or stored in it can be interfered with by using a computer.

Once the tampered SMS is saved in the computer, it also stands modified in the phone’s memory card. When it is removed from the reader and replaced in the mobile handset, the tampered/modified SMS can be read on its screen, according to Harikrishnan.

The prosecution had introduced the SMS into the case almost one year after police had completed its investigations. It was Gopinath Munde, Pramod’s brother-in-law, who first spoke of the SMS on April 11 this year to prove that there was hatred and acrimony between the Mahajan siblings. As the fifth prosecution witness, Munde had quoted an SMS allegedly sent by Pravin, which Pramod had shown him (Munde). Later, the police had found another SMS that had a similar tone followed by a third SMS in which Pravin allegedly demanded Rs.10 million from Pramod.

The defence spoke of the difficulties encountered in procuring the Motorola-V4 handset, saying some used phone dealers had even jacked up the prices and others offered them corrupted versions.