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TIPS owner Ramesh Taurani arrested in Gulshan Kumar case

Suparn Verma in Bombay

The Indian music industry received another blow when Bombay's crime branch arrested TIPS cassette owner Ramesh Taurani for 'abetting' music magnate Gulshan Kumar's murder.

Taurani, according to Assistant Commissioner of Police L R Rao, had ''made a big payment to Kumar's killers.''

Earlier, the crime branch had said the concert by music composers Nadeem-Shravan in Dubai, on June 12, was performed for free. It was at Nadeem's instance, they had alleged, as part of the payment for Gulshan Kumar's life.

The police had been on the lookout for the source of funds with which the killers managed to procure the car, mobile phones and guns. "The concert was just a part of the payment," Rao said.

Taurani's arrest, the police are quick to point out, had come from their own efforts -- not from any revelation by Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, as is believed in some quarters. (Thackeray had recently stated he knew the names of 'three big men' behind the killing.)

Unlike in Nadeem's case where the evidence is more material than direct, Taurani, the police claims, has witnesses speaking against him.

"Though we do not have a conclusive motive for him, we do have enough to show he was involved," Rao revealed, "We have confessions from two people."

Gulshan Kumar, it would appear, was undercutting prices so sharply that Taurani was losing heavily in business.

Meanwhile, efforts to extradite Nadeem from London are on. However, the police say there is no chance of his being brought back to India before November 3. They had issued a warrant against the music composer to a London court which had summoned Nadeem and, after the necessary legal process, released him on bail. The next hearing is on November 3 when the court will listen to evidence and decide about extradition.

Does Taurani's alleged involvement in anyway lessen the blame on Nadeem?

The police says no, definitely not. "The killing was because of Nadeem's strained relationship with Gulshan Kumar," they claimed, "And that is the real motive behind the murder!"

Speaking about Time audio and video owner Dhirubhai Shah, who was arrested and remanded to Yerwada jail a week ago, Rao said he was not involved in the case at all.

"Shah was arrested under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities," Rao said, "He has nothing to do with our case."

Interestingly, TIPS's earnings had hit the roof with Daud, Gupt and Pardes this year. The music for Pardes was composed by Nadeem-Shravan. In fact, TIPS's biggest hits for last year -- Raja Hindustani, Jeet and Saajan Chale Sasural -- were all composed by the duo.

Taurani will remain in police custody till at least October 17, when his bail application comes up for hearing.

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