A Bombay High Court bench of Justices Sadhana Jadhav and Nitin Borkar on Thursday upheld the life term conviction of Abdul Rauf Dawood Merchant alias Rauf Merchant, a key accused and underworld gangster Dawood Ibrahim, for his role in the murder of music baron Gulshan Kumar in 1997.
The bench convicted Rauf for murder, criminal conspiracy and other charges under the Arms Act. “Rauf wouldn't be entitled to any remission given his criminal antecedents. We have even considered the fact that he was absconding for a considerable period after the murder in 1997 and later surrendered. He even jumped the furlough granted to him way back in 2009 and returned only after he was arrested in 2016,” Justice Jadhav said while pronouncing the verdict.
The bench has also upheld the acquittal orders of Kumar's music rival Ramesh Taurani, who was booked by the Mumbai Police for allegedly hatching the murder conspiracy. Further, the judges reversed the acquittal of accused Abdul Rashid Dawood Merchant, who was acquitted by the sessions court in 2002, and convicted him for murder and criminal conspiracy.
"Rashid is convicted for murder and criminal conspiracy," Justice Jadhav declared while ordering him to forthwith surrender before either the sessions court or the D N Nagar police station. "If he (Rashid) doesn't surrender, the Court below will issue a non-bailable warrant and secure his custody at the earliest," the bench ordered.
The bench was dealing with the appeals filed by both Abdul Dawood Rauf Merchant challenging his conviction and also the state government challenging the acquittal of Taurani and Rashid. Gulshan Kumar, the 'cassette king' was shot down outside a temple in August 1997 at suburban Andheri.