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Gulshan Kumar Murder: Bombay High Court Sentences Abdul Rauf Merchant And Abdul Rashid To Life,Uphold Acquittal Of Ramesh Taurani

Sharmeen Hakim
1 July 2021 6:29 AM GMT
Gulshan Kumar Murder: Bombay High Court Sentences Abdul Rauf Merchant And Abdul Rashid To Life,Uphold Acquittal Of Ramesh Taurani
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The Bombay High Court on Thursday confirmed the 2002 trial court verdict acquitting TIPS co-founder Ramesh Taurani, and convicting Abdul Rauf Merchant in the 1997 murder of T-series owner Gulshan Kumar. A division bench of Justices Sadhana Jadhav and NR Borkar, however, set aside the trial court's order acquitting Merchant's brother- Abdul Rashid Dawood Merchant- and sentenced him...

The Bombay High Court on Thursday confirmed the 2002 trial court verdict acquitting TIPS co-founder Ramesh Taurani, and convicting Abdul Rauf Merchant in the 1997 murder of T-series owner Gulshan Kumar.

A division bench of Justices Sadhana Jadhav and NR Borkar, however, set aside the trial court's order acquitting Merchant's brother- Abdul Rashid Dawood Merchant- and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

The brothers were found guilty of murder (302), common intention (34) of IPC and under 27 of the Arms Act. The court additionally found them guilty u/s 120B (conspiracy) of the IPC.

"The appellant (Abdul Rauf) should not be entitled to remission, if any…He has criminal antecedents and continued in similar activities thereafter. In the interest of justice and society at large, appellant doesn't deserve any leniency," Justice Sadhana Jadhav said.

Justice Jadhav said it "is a matter of record the appellant (Rauf) absconded soon after the incident in 1997 and could be arrested only in 2001. He was subsequently enlarged on furlough in 2009 and re-arrested in 2016."

The court pronounced the order on Maharashtra Government's appeal against Taurani's and Abdul Rashid Merchant's acquittal and Merchant's appeal against his conviction and life sentence.

INCIDENT

On August 12, 1997 music honcho Gulshan Kumar was shot dead while exiting a temple at Jeet Nagar in Juhu, Mumbai. The assailants had pumped in 16 bullets, killing him on the spot.

It was the prosecution's case that the business rivalry between Kumar and Ramesh Taurani, was the motive for the murder. It also cited differences between Kumar and music director Nadeem Saifee, who allegedly decided to kill Kumar by hiring gangster Abu Salem from Dawood Ibrahim's gang. However, Saifee left for London in June 1997 and has not returned to India since.

The accused were tried on charges of murder, conspiracy and under the arms act. Following a long-drawn trial, Merchant, then 37, was the only one of 19 accused to be convicted in April 2002.

In 2009 Merchant applied for furlough. Though the police objected, on March 2 the High Court granted him this leave. Merchant fled to Bangladesh while on furlough.

He was deported to India in 2016.

Senior Advocate Aabad Ponda and Satish Maneshinde represented Taurani while advocate Deepal Thakkar represented the brothers.

Judgement

Abdul Rauf Merchant convicted for 302, 307 r/w 34 of IPC and 27 of Indian Arms Act upheld. 120B added. Conviction under 397 IPC set aside.

Abdul Rashid Dawood Merchant convicted u/s 302 r/w 120b and 27 of Indian Arms Act. Fine Rs. 5,000



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