Mumbai: At around 10.30 am on August 12, 1997, Gulshan Kumar, then the owner of T-Series, had walked out of his red Opel car to walk to a temple in the midst of the slums at Jeet Nagar in Versova. For Kumar it was a customary practice to offer prayers at the temple. Conspicuous to his entire routine as his missing carbine-wielding bodyguard provided by the then Uttar Pradesh government.
It proved to be the perfect opportunity for two teams contract killers who had been scouting the area, and waiting for the right opportunity to kill Gulshan Kumar who had refused to cough up a sum of Rs 10 crore to members of Dawood Ibrahim’s company.
In fact, little is known about the direct involvement of Dawood Ibrahim in Gulshan Kumar’s murder. But fingers were directly pointed at his brother Anees Ibrahim, Abdul Qayyum and now estranged henchman Abu Salem.
The plot to kill Gulshan Kumar was hatched at Anees’s office in Dubai in May 1997 where now convicted Abdul Rauf alias Daud Merchant was called into. Those present in the office included Abu Salem, Abdul Qayyum, and Bollywood music composer Nadeem Saifee, said crime branch officials.
Abu Salem was categorical when he told Rauf to eliminate Gulshan Kumar who was troubling Nadeem. Abu Salem had promised Rauf money, men, arms and vehicles to carry out the killing. But the killing was not done before the underworld goons called and warned Gulshan Kumar of the inevitable.
Gulshan Kumar had received two threatening calls, one on August 5, 1997 and another on August 8, 1997. But the music baron had refused to budge, and had apparently told those who threatened him to carry out their ‘dharma’ as he was carrying out his own. The fearlessness of the music baron had further irked the likes of Abu Salem.
Rauf was made to swear on the Holy Scriptures to carry out the execution. And accordingly, Rauf and his friend Adil Mohammed Ali Khan, were to scout the area each morning at Jeet Nagar slums in Andheri (West). The two used to scout the area from 6 am onwards to find an opportune time to kill Gulshan Kumar.
The two teams of hired killers which included Rauf Raja and Abdul Rashid conducted reconnaissance for a month. But they could not find an opportune time because of Gulshan Kumar’s carbine wielding body guard.
But August 12, 1997 was going to be different. Gulshan Kumar had stepped out alone and Adil spotted it. Adil informed Abdul Rauf who was about to charge towards Gulshan Kumar. But Adil stopped Abdul Rauf and said that he would take care of it himself.
Adil walked up to Gulshan Kumar and had a brief chat with the music baron asking him to pray in heaven now, and pulled the trigger from close range. The gun shot send alarm bells in the area. And people started running towards Gulshan Kumar. Gulshan Kumar tried to scramble through the slums. Abdul Rauf fired in the air to disperse the crowd, and then the killers pumped in 16 bullets into a rather helpless Gulshan Kumar. Gulshan Kumar was declared dead on admission. While his killers had silently escaped from the area. Rauf first went to Uttar Pradesh to hide, came back to Mumbai and then escaped to Dubai via Bangladesh. He was arrested in 2001 from Kolkata, and was the only person to be convicted of the 19 arrested. He escaped once again only to be deported back to India from Bangladesh only to be deported back again in 2016.