Gulshan Kumar

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The murder

HC gives killer brothers life imprisonment

Swati Deshpande, July 4, 2021: The Times of India

Almost 24 years after three sharpshooters gunned down T-Series founder Gulshan Kumar in the city, the Bombay HC on Thursday upheld the 2002 conviction of one assailant, Abdul Rauf Dawood Merchant, overturned the acquittal of another gunman, Rauf’s brother Abdul Rashid, and upheld the acquittal of Ramesh Taurani, Kumar’s business rival.

Kumar had just reached his car after offering prayers at a temple in Andheri (W) on August 12, 1997, when a person rushed towards him at 3pm, placed a pistol on his back and pumped bullets into him. When Kumar turned around, two others emerged from behind a stall and an autorickshaw and fired more bullets. An eyewitness, who testified to this, identified the brother duo, and his testimony was not shattered, said the HC.

“It was indeed a coldblooded murder,’’ said the HC bench of Justices Sadhana Jadhav and N R Borkar. There were five witnesses, including a local resident, a rickshaw driver and Kumar’s driver of 14 years. Each emphasized the role of the brothers as the attackers, the bench said. The assailants escaped towards Versova Link Road in a taxi they took at gunpoint.

“He (Rauf) had committed the ghastly act as he was hired by Nadeem Saifee and Abu Salem who wanted to satisfy their personal vendetta,” the HC said. Saifee and Salem were absconding accused then and hence not tried, said the high court. The government’s efforts to extradite Saifee from London had failed.

Both shooters got a life sentence. “In the interest of justice and society at large, the appellant does not deserve any leniency,” the HC said. There were 19 accused. Charges against two were dropped pending trial.

Five years later, the Mumbai sessions court held only Abdul Rauf guilty, acquitting the remaining 16, including Taurani, owner of Tips Cassettes, and Abdul Rashid.

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