Above: Nadeem Saifi (Right) with his composing partner Shravan Rathod.
Exiled Indian music composer Nadeem Saifi has demanded a public apology from the Indian government for accusing him of involvement in the murder of music tycoon Gulshan Kumar.
Saifi, formerly a part of the renowned Bollywood composing duo of Nadeem-Shravan alongside Shravan Rathod, was accused of hiring a hit man to assassinate Kumar in August 1997.
Saifi had been in London when police made the allegation and he has remained in the UK ever since fighting extradition to India.
In 2002, an Indian judge ruled that the case against Saifi could not be proved but his arrest warrant has never been withdrawn.
Speaking on the BBC Asian Network’s Bobby Friction show on Wednesday an emotional called for “justice” for his family.
“I don’t want to die without getting justice. I don’t want my parents to die without hearing that I was innocent”, Saifi said.
“My parents are lying ill in their beds, I so much want to see them. I deserve this justice, it’s high time now.”
Gulshan Kumar and his burgeoning record label T-Series had spurred the meteoric rise of Saifi and Rathod in the 1990’s.
Nadeem-Shravan had been responsible for the soundtracks of such iconic films as ‘Raja Hindustani’, ‘Deewana’, ‘Saajan’ and ‘Aashiqui’.
Kumar was killed in August 1997 outside a Hindu temple in Mumbai with Saifi named by police as the man responsible for hiring the assailant.
Kumar’s killing caused a major storm despite Bollywood’s then-reputation as an industry financed and controlled by the Mumbai underworld.
Saifi has fought countless battles to extradite him to India and was acquitted in 2002 of all charges by the Mumbai High Court. British judges have also repeatedly said that the evidence against had been “tainted” from the beginning.
Saifi is required to present himself at an Indian court to have his warrant cancelled but the musician says he still fears he will not get a fair hearing.
He also maintains that he was framed.
“It was just an act of jealousy from certain people who thought, ‘let’s nail this good-looking hunk of a guy,'” he told the BBC.
“Sixteen years patiently I have borne itna zulm [this oppression]. My children have always seen me crying and for what? For a crime I have not committed. For a crime I have never even thought about”, Saifi adds.
– Nadeem Saifi’s full interview on the Bobby Friction show on the BBC Asian Network is available on BBC iPlayer.