Gulshan Kumar murder case: Bombay High Court upholds Abdul Rauf’s conviction

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The Bombay High Court on Thursday upheld the conviction of Abdul Rauf alias Dawood Merchant in the Gulshan Kumar murder case. Abdul Rauf was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Abdul Rauf alias Dawood Merchant was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Mumbai sessions court in 2002 in the murder case of Gulshan Kumar, founder of T-series. The court has set aside Rauf’s conviction under robbery sections.

Twenty-four years after the murder of Bollywood music baron Gulshan Kumar, the Bombay High Court has passed this judgement on Thursday. Rauf’s brother Abdul Rashid’s acquittal was also challenged by the Maharashtra government and the Bombay High Court has upheld his conviction as well.

He too will now be serving a life sentence. Rashid had been behind bars from 1997 to the time the lower court passed judgement.

Kumar was killed outside a temple in 1997 where he went to pray everyday. The killers, including Rauf, had been keeping a tab on Kumar’s movement for over two months before they pumped bullets into him. This was allegedly done at the behest of gangster Dawood Ibrahim’s gang.

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.

While delivering the judgement, the division bench of Justice SS Jadhav and Justice NR Borkar specified that Rauf will not be entitled to remissions in jail while serving his sentence. The court said that his conduct was a matter of record, so he does not deserve any “leniency”

While Rauf’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde who was present inside the courtroom vehemently opposed the judgement and leniency issue, the bench said, “You know how it is misused. If someone is given 5 years under the arms act, but the person comes out in 3.5 years because of remissions. Good conduct, doing yoga and whatever methods they used to seek leniency. Anyway, life means life and the power lies with the state.”

After the judgement, Maneshinde, who was appearing for both the merchant brothers said, “This is a case where according to me there was not enough evidence. Anyway, the court has passed the conviction. We will have a look at the reasoning and then decide the next course.”

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