Manjunath Olekar, 67, hosted a party at his farmhouse in Shivamogga city with nearly 50 people in attendance. He was preparing his double barrelled gun to fire celebratory shots to ring in the New Year, when he accidentally shot 34-year-old Vinay U, who was standing next to him.
The local police said Olekar was loading his licensed gun when he accidentally pressed the trigger. Vinay, identified as a friend of the host's son and a PhD scholar, was rushed to a hospital where he succumbed on Sunday.
Seeing Vinay in a pool of blood, Olekar collapsed. Following the incident, he went into shock and died due to a heart attack, said Shivamogga police superintendent Mithun Kumar GK.
Olekar had, in the past, fired celebratory shots to usher in the New Year. Firing celebratory shots at weddings and special ceremonies is a fairly common and dangerous practice in certain parts of India.
“A firearm can be used only in certain circumstances. Not to fire in the air to celebrate,” the superintendent told BBC Hindi.
In November a man associated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was arrested after a man was killed in a celebratory firing in Uttar Pradesh state.
Earlier in June, a 35-year-old Indian army soldier died after he was caught in celebratory firing at his friend's wedding in Uttar Pradesh state. He was rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead.