On August 12, 1997, the Indian music industry suffered a massive setback when Gulshan Kumar, the then-owner of T-Series) was brutally murdered in broad daylight. Today, the Bombay High Court upheld the conviction of Abdul Rauf Merchant in the murder case. They also dismissed the state government’s appeal against the acquittal of film producer and Tips Industries co-founder Ramesh Taurani.
Abdul Rauf Merchant was an aide of gangster Dawood Ibrahim and was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2002 for Gulshan Kumar’s murder in 1997. Read on to know all about the judgment that was passed today.
Talking about the Gulshan Kumar murder case, a division bench of Justice S S Jadhav and Justice N R Borkar noted that Abdul Rauf Merchant had “criminal antecedents.” The bench said, “He is not entitled to remission as he absconded right after his arrest. He was released on furlough in 2009. His conviction continued as he fled parole and continued with his criminal activities. Hence in the interest of justice at large, he does not deserve any leniency.” (via Indian Express)
The bench, in its order, stated that they upheld the conviction and sentence passed against Abdul Rauf Dawood Merchant under section 302, 307 of IPC by the judgment of sessions court judge dated April 29, 2002. They also added that he is also convicted for the section under section 120-B of IPC. The bench said that he is acquitted of charges under sections 392 (Robbery) and 397 (Robbery or dacoity in attempt to cause death) of IPC.
Ramesh Taurani, the owner of Tips Industries Limited, was one of the accused in the Gulshan Kumar murder case. Reacting to the news of the court acquitting him from all chargers, Ramesh told News 18, “I am relieved. I always knew I was innocent. This is the triumph of the truth.” He continued, “The appeal has been dismissed and my family and I are happy and relieved. I was expecting the verdict. I had to go through a long ordeal which was not required. It has been almost 25 years and I have gone through a lot of trouble. I got my acquittal in 2002 but since then there has been so many appeals. The sessions court had given a detailed order so I felt that it was unnecessary to bring it up in the High Court. The judiciary is already burdened so I believe this was stretched too far.”
For those who do not know, following Gulshan Kumar’s death, music directors Nadeem Akhtar Saifee and Taurani were accused in the case. Taurani was charged for allegedly conspiring with Saifee by hiring Dubai mafioso Abu Salem to carry out the murder and paying Nadeem a sum of Rs 2.5 million to carry out the execution. Saifee since fled to the UK to prevent charges against him, while Taurani was arrested for ‘abetting’ Gulshan’s murder. He was later granted bail, and in 2002, the session’s court dropped all charges against him. After this, the State of Maharashtra then appealed in the High Court.