Twenty-five years later, the murder of Sidhu Mooswala brings back memories of the murder of Kulshan Kumar
MUMBAI: Kulshan Kumar, a 41-year-old music tycoon and filmmaker, is the founder of Super Cassettes Industries. Now popularly known as the D-Series, he was shot dead on August 12, 1997.
Outside the Jeeteshwar Mahadev Mandir in Mumbai’s Andheri West, Kumar, a religious man, was shot inside by 16 bullets fired by contract killers Abdul Raouf alias Tod Merchant and his brother Rashid Merchant. He started as an audio cassette maker and started creating the music empire, but died on the spot.
As if it were not shocking enough, one of the main accused, Nadeem-Shravan duo composer Nadeem Akhtar Saifi, who composed popular hit songs for films like ‘Aashiqui’, ‘Sajan’ and ‘Sadaq’. ‘,’ Dil Hai Ke Manda Nahin ‘, along with many others under the D-Series label, and shortbuster albums that came out of the label, especially’ Pool Aur Conte ‘,’ Dilwale ‘and’ Datkan ‘.
The 400-page indictment names 26 people, including Nadeem and Ramesh Taurani, co-owner and managing director of Mumbai Police Tips Industries; Both were listed as joint conspirators.
Nadeem-Shravan formed the D-Series creative team with songwriter Samir and playback singer Anuradha Boudwal, who is said to be very close to Kulshan Kumar.
According to the Mumbai Police, Nadeem Kumar’s ‘Hi Ajanabi’ was paid for the murder due to a personal dispute over the album. Nadeem felt that Kulshan Kumar did not give proper publicity to the album, while according to the composer, the album failed due to Nadeem’s low tonal quality as a singer.
Police say Nadeem paid Abu Salem for the murder. The thugs plotted to kill Kumar along with Dawood Ibrahim after the composer refused to pay security money to the D-Company.
Nadeem vehemently denied the allegations, claiming he was on holiday in London at the time of the murder and then slipped into the British capital, where he continues to live despite several attempts to deport him. Police, meanwhile, focused more on the D-Company, which was at the peak of organized crime.
Taurani, who was finally acquitted by the Bombay High Court last year, was upset with Kulshan Kumar because, based on the accounts of two witnesses]who, according to the police, who had fully identified themselves, he had drastically reduced the prices so that the tips were greatly lost.
Ironically, the success of ‘Dowd’, ‘Gupta’ and ‘Pardes’ made 1997 a very good year for tips. Nadeem-Shravan composed the music for ‘Pardes’. According to contemporary news reports, the two also composed music for the 1996 blockbuster hit songs – ‘Raja Hindustani’, ‘Jeet’ and ‘Sajan Sale Sachural’.
The trial in the Kulshan Kumar murder case began in June 2001. Mumbai Sessions Court Judge M.L. Tahiliani later sentenced Pakistani terrorist Mohammad Ajmal Qassab to death for his role in the 26/11 attacks and Raouf for life in prison for killing his son.
Twenty years later, on July 1, 2021, the Bombay High Court upheld Raoub’s sentence. His brother Rashid Merchant, who was acquitted by the lower court, was also sentenced to life, but Dowrani was acquitted.
According to Nadeem, in an interview with ETimes, he said the charges against Mumbai Police and Kulshan Kumar’s younger brother Kishan Kumar were a conspiracy to arrest him. He pointed out that every possible court, from the Mumbai Sessions Judge to the UK High Court, had “confirmed that there was not a shred of evidence against me”. The fallen composer added: “I have a preconceived notion of naming and legislating. I was persecuted and targeted.”
Nadeem last composed the song ‘Ankon Mein Ansoo’ for the commercial and critique song ‘Ek Haseena The Ek Deewana’ (2017), while his creative half Shravan Kumar Rathod died in Mumbai at the age of 66 due to Govt-19 complications. SL Raheja Hospital on April 22, 2021.
It has been 25 years since Kulshan Kumar was brutally murdered for not submitting to the demands of extortionist gangs. The entertainment industry has significantly cleaned up its operations in the intervening years, but the assassination of Sidhu Mooswala shows that the world of entertainment is not yet all right in the gray area of confrontation with extortionist powers.