The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, issued notice to the Maharashtra government on an appeal filed by Abdul Rashid Dawood Merchant, a convict in the T-Series founder Gulshan Kumar's murder case.
A division bench of justices Surya Kant and Abhay Oka also directed the Supreme Court registry to call for papers and proceedings of another appeal filed in the case by Abdul Rauf Dawood Merchant, Abdul Rashid’s brother, which would be heard together.
Gulshan Kumar was shot dead while he was coming out of a temple in Juhu in Mumbai on August 12, 1997. The prosecution claimed that his industry rivals had paid money to Dubai-based gangster Abu Salem to kill him.
In 2002, the trial court convicted Abdul Rauf of life imprisonment. His brother Abdul Rashid was acquitted for lack of evidence along with Ramesh Taurani, film producer and co-founder of Tips Industries – T-Series’ rival music company.
However, on July 1, 2021, the Bombay High Court while upholding Abdul Rauf’s conviction, reversed Abdul Rashid’s acquittal and sentenced him to life imprisonment for murder and criminal conspiracy observing that he was one of the assassins who took part in the shoot-out. The HC had then noted that Kumar was shot at by the assailants allegedly hired by Nadeem Saifee (of Nadeem-Shravan music composer duo fame) and Salem.
The HC had upheld the acquittal of Ramesh Taurani observing that there was “no cogent and convincing evidence to establish that Taurani had conspired with Saifee or Salem”.
Abdul Rashid challenged his conviction by the HC before the SC. His counsel Satish Maneshinde contended that the HC judgment “prima facie lacks any finding qua Abdul Rashid’s presence at the spot at the time of the incident”.
His appeal further states that the HC has “failed to appreciate the evidence placed before it and has failed to take into consideration the contradictions established amongst the statements of the eye-witnesses”.
Further, Abdus Rashid’s appeal states that since he is 50 years old and has some medical issues, he should be granted bail. At present, he is lodged at the Nashik central prison.
The SC has kept the appeals for hearing after six weeks.