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Thursday, 21 December, 2000, 17:08 GMT
Bollywood director wins extradition case
Funeral of Gulshan Kumar
The killing sent shockwaves through Bollywood
By the BBC's Tanuja Solanki

A prominent Indian music director has won his appeal at the High Court in London to avoid extradition to India on a murder charge.

Nadeem Akhtar Saifi had been charged by Indian police with murdering the Indian music producer, Gulshan Kumar, in Bombay in 1997.

Nadeem Saifi
Nadeem Saifi: Said he would not get fair trial
The murder sent shockwaves throughout the Indian music industry, and brought to the surface the numerous extortion rackets associated with the huge film business in Bombay, known as Bollywood.

Nadeem Akhtar Saifi's lawyer had previously told the High Court that Mr Saifi had been implicated in the murder of Gulshan Kumar two months after he and his wife came to Britain.

Mr Saifi had apparently intended to return to India, but changed his mind due to serious doubts about the genuineness of the proceedings against him

He also feared that as a Muslim he would not get a fair trial in India.

His defence team had asked the two High Court judges to block his extradition on the grounds that false evidence against him had been obtained through what was described as "inhuman treatment and coercion" of a key witness by the Indian police.

Retracted confession

Today, the judges ruled that the accusation of murder and conspiracy made against Nadeem Akhtar Saifi had not been made in good faith and in the interests of justice.

One of the sitting judges, Lord Justice Rose, told the court that it would not be fair and just to return the applicant to India because of the apparent misbehaviour by the police in pursuing their inquiries.

The case for the prosecution had rested on the evidence of Mohammed Ali Shaikh, who confessed to being part of the murder conspiracy and implicated Mr Saifi as co-conspirator before a magistrate in Bombay.

But according to Mr Saifi's lawyers, Mr Ali Shaikh later retracted his confession saying it had been obtained through police coercion.

Lawyers for the Indian Government have indicated that they will challenge Thursday's ruling in the upper house of parliament.

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