The Bombay High Court on Thursday upheld the conviction of gangster Dawood Ibrahim’s aide Rauf Merchant in the Gulshan Kumar murder case. The trial court held Merchant guilty of murdering the T-Series founder in 1997 and awarded him life imprisonment in 2002.
Rauf had moved the high court against the trial court’s verdict which found his guilty for murder, criminal conspiracy, robbery, and possession of arms.
The division bench of Justice Sadhana S Jadhav and NR Borkar, however, partly allowed the gangster’s appeal. While conviction for murder was upheld, conviction for robbery was set aside. The court also upheld the acquittal of Gulshan Kumar’s business rival Ramesh Taurani
After considering Merchant’s criminal background, the high court clarified that he will not be entitled to any leniency in his prison term.
Notably, after the murder, Merchant had absconded only to be caught in 2001. After conviction and life sentence, Rauf had jumped parole in 2009 and went absconding when released to meet his family. He was later handed over to the Mumbai crime branch in 2016 by Bangladesh where he was arrested.
Rauf had entered Bangladesh without valid documents. He was convicted for intruding and illegally staying in Bangladesh and given a five-year prison term. When he completed the sentence, he was arrested again — in December 2014 — over possible terror links. Finally, in 2016, he was handed over to Indian authorities.
Gulshan Kumar, also known as the “Cassette king”, was shot dead while coming out of a temple in Mumbai on August 12, 1997. Three assailants rained in 16 bullets while he was coming out of a temple at Jeet Nagar in Juhu. Gulshan Kumar died on the spot.
The Mumbai police had named 26 people, including Music composer Nadeem Akhtar Saifee, in its 400-page charge sheet. Both Saifee and Ramesh Taurani, owner of Tips cassettes, were named as co-conspirators.
While Taurani was arrested for abetting his murder, Nadeem Akhtar Saifee managed to evade arrest and fled to the United Kingdom.
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