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At the outset I take the privilege to convey my gratitude to those who have co-operated, supported, helped and suggested me to accomplish the project work. This project work bear’s imprint, of many persons who are either directly or indirectly involved in the completion of it. I am also desirous of placing on record profound indebt ness to my guide Mr.Vishal Salve S Y BFM Roll No 134 for the valuable advice, guidance, precious time and support that she offered.
Table of Contents Sr. No. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. Topics Introduction Key Players Government Reactions Involvement of CBI Politicians Involved Cases & Evidences against Senior Cops History Mystery of the Missing Moolah General Opinions An Interview Conclusion
The Telgi stamp scam can be dubbed as the mother of all scams and many cannot resist saying it happens only in India. Its ramifications run deep and cover over 12 states with Maharashtra leading the way. It has left its stamp of shame on the top police brass, politicians and bureaucrats. Today a number of them, including the ex-police commissioner of police, Mumbai are languishing in jails along with the kingpin, and state’s strong man resigned as cries to boot him out reached a crescendo. Abdul Karim Lad Saab Telgi’s story is that of the rags to the riches. He started by selling articles on the Belgaum platform and trains to make out a living and educated himself and by doing a petty job. He struck gold when he plunged into printing and selling fake stamps. His operations lasted for nearly a decade and during this period he was able to keep the law at bay by bribing the powers that pulled the strings. He started be doing what has been even impossible to think of. He penetrated the confines of Indian Government’s Nashik Security Press where millions of crores worth court stamp papers and printed in connivance with the top officials. He bought scrap stamp printing presses in working conditions, installed them in his Mumbai Press and began printing and selling stamp papers. What helped and boosted his sales was that by pulling his political strings he succeeded in getting a stamp vendors license. This enabled him to sell in bulk to top companies and banks. Soon his growing 1 money power gained him so much clout at Mumbai Stamp Office that for long periods they feigned shortage of stamps, allowing Telgi’s men to sell stamps at a premium outside the stamp office. Today, many are paying the police of their falling prey to Telgi’s bribes and Telgi to who has amassed a fortune is down with aids and in jail but this time without the luxuries of a cell phone or hotel stay. Today’s watch worth is “No Telgi Ghee only butter” Though the racket had come to light in 1995 those whose duty was to expose and bring the guilty to booth engaged them in cover-up and apparently allowed him to run the racket from his cell by providing him the cell phone. Finally, it was the patience and perseverance of one man, the indefatigable Anna Hazare who filled a public interest petition in the high court. This brought things into the open and exposed the role of police and politicians and under the court’s order the state government was forced to set up S.I.T
who’s findings have sealed the fate by many top brass and even made the central government to sit up and take action.
Abdul Karim Lad Saab Telgi In his early forties, is keeping the police force of at least 19 states on tenterhooks. The main suspect in the fake stamp paper racket is a native of Belgaum district in Karnataka. He began as a vendor in a small railway station before coming to Mumbai. A meeting with a forger eventually led him to the stamp and stamp papers business where demand forever exceeded supply. He capitalized on this by printing duplicates. No one has determined the extent of his business or the loss to the exchequer, but it is believed to run into thousands of crores. Arrested in 2001, Telgi is now behind bars in Karnataka. Among those who reportedly helped Telgi were several politicians, policemen and bureaucrats. Two MLAs - Anil Gote (Dhule, Maharashtra) and Krishna Yadav (Himayat Nagar, Andhra Pradesh) - have been arrested and charged under the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act. Apparently, Gote helped Telgi get a stamp vendor's license using a recommendation from former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. Yadav, it is believed demanded Rs 2 crore to protect his illegal business. Though Telgi's business empire was controlled from Mumbai, the Maharashtra government never showed much enthusiasm to expose or end the racket. Noted social reformer Anna Hazare filed a PIL in the Bombay high court to force the state government to act. Today, the investigation is out of the hands of the state government and is monitored by the court. Some believe that to be reason for the arrest of some very high profile people. On the court's orders, retired additional DGP Sukhwinder Singh Puri was appointed head of the Special Investigation Team probing the racket, as its then chief, DIG Subodh Jaiswal, was junior to cops who were under scrutiny. Known as 'Justice Puri’ in police circles, Puri enjoys the reputation of being an upright officer. It was after he entered the picture that the accused began emerging from the shadows. He has shunned the media glare and steadfastly stuck to his work. Former Mumbai police commissioner R S Sharma is the highest-ranking officer to be arrested so far. The SIT says he did not maintain absolute integrity in the investigation into the scam. Even at the time of his
appointment, Sharma was plagued with allegations of bribing his way to the top post. Now the telgi scam has intensified the conflict between the congress and the NCP parties, the two leading partners in the democratic front government, with chief ministers Shinde unable to decide the course of action against the Mumbai police commissioner Ranjeet Sharma for his alleged role in the Rs. 3000 crore fake stamp paper scam. Political observers, however, set the DF leaders are desperately hacking out a face- saving formula, which would seemingly show that the chief minister has taken decisive action against Sharma and at the same time, insures not to antagonize bhujbal, who belongs to the NCP. Already the opposition Shivsena- BJP combine has demanded Bhujbals resignation accusing him of shielding corrupt police officers involved in the multi crore stamp. Meanwhile there are indications that a new police chief in the next few days would replace Sharma. Sources say that Sharma may be side lined as an additional director general in the state Police. VN Deshmuk, commissioner of state intellegince department, is most likely to be the new police chief said a Mantralay offical, “some officers have begun lobbying with senior politicians in Maharashtra and New delhi to get elite posting in Mumbai.” However, Political sources said that the state government would ensure that a good officer is posted in Mumbai as the image of the city police has taken a severe drubbing in the past two days. Retired ACP M C Mulani (small pic, left) reportedly demanded a bribe from Telgi. Despite knowing this, Sharma let him continue in the team investigating the scam. • IGP Sridhar Vagal is the second highest ranking officer to be arrested. Among other things, he reportedly allowed Telgi a free rein even when he was in police custody. At that time, Vagal was working under Sharma in Mumbai. • Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal finds himself in a soup because he had appointed Sharma as Mumbai police chief. Even at that time, it was known that Sharma's role in the racket was not entirely above board. He has often found himself isolated where this racket is concerned with no support forthcoming from his party, Nationalist Congress Party, either. There is no talk of any connection between him and Telgi as yet, but until Sharma is absolved, Bhujbal will continue to be viewed with suspicion. •
EX-Finance Minister Jaswant Singh said the value of the fake stamp papers recovered by various investigative agencies was Rs 3,376 crores.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha on a calling attention motion on the stamp paper scam, the minister said the agencies had registered 74 cases in this connection, with 15 against chief accused Abdul Karim Telgi. Singh said while several figures had been given out on the value of the scam, they were all speculative. He added since most of the stamp duties were payable to state governments, the loss of revenue for the Center had been very little. He said the government would recognize as genuine all transactions executed on stamp papers within the country. He said, “There will be no legal infirmity on any such documents and, if necessary, the government will introduce a Bill in the House.” Singh said the new stamp papers with improved security features would be available across the country by July 2004. The minister said the government was committed to find a remedy to the problem and said a number of measures were under way “to eliminate the virus”. The minister acknowledged that the full contours of the scam were not visible to him when Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna wrote to him last year. But by March 2003, the finance ministry had written to all the chief ministers asking them to name officials who could be involved in circulating fake stamp paper.
Involvement of CBI
SIT hands over stamp scam cases to CBI April 13, 2004 20:13 IST After handing over the last document to the CBI, the probe by the Special Investigating Team into the fake stamps scam formally came to an end. "The SIT ceases to exist today," an SIT official said in Mumbai. Officials of the SIT handed over documents to a CBI team at Pune while the Mumbai SIT has already completed this task. The SIT's action came following a Supreme Court directive in mid-March. SIT chief and retired DGP S S Puri had handed over the documents in his possession to the CBI in March while DIGs Sanjay Barwe, Hemant Nagarale and Subodh Jaiswal handed over cases in their charge to the CBI. The SIT began in September 2002 with DIG Subodh Jaiswal as its head. Eventually, acting on a PIL, the Bombay high court appointed retired DGP S S Puri as SIT chief and the subsequent probe led to the arrest of over 70 prominent persons, including former Mumbai police commissioner R S Sharma. CBI to interrogate all stamp accused in jail April 22, 2004 00:45 IST
A Special Court in Pune granted permission to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to interrogate all the 65 accused, who were lodged in the Yerwada Jail of Pune, in connection with the fake stamp paper racket. The CBI, which took over the investigation from the Special Investigation Team (SIT) following a Supreme Court directive, had moved an application before Special Judge S M Shembole seeking permission to interrogate the accused. In a related development, a total of 33 accused filed an application before the District Judge for changing the judge conducting the trial. They include Azim Telgi, brother of prime accused Abdul Karim Telgi. The accused want Special Judge S M Shembole to be replaced. In a related development, the magisterial custody of 39 accused, including former Mumbai police commissioner R S Sharma, Joint Commissioner Sridhar Vagal, Deputy Commissioner Pradeep Sawant and others, have been extended to May 20,2004. They were produced before the court on expiry of their magisterial custody. Meanwhile, Raja Thakre, who was the special prosecutor of SIT, filed his papers in the court as CBI prosecutor. Stamp scam: SC gives CBI 3 months August 09, 2004 16:12 IST Five months after the probe into the Rs 30,000 crore stamp paper scam was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Supreme Court asked the agency to complete the investigations in three months. The order came from a Bench comprising Justice S B Sinha and Justice S H Kapadia when the CBI filed a status report before them. The voluminous status report details the agency's probe into the 48 stamp scam cases, of which 23 were registered in Maharashtra. The report also talks about the prima facie evidence collected by the agency relating to the role of high officials and politicians, whose patronage was allegedly enjoyed by the main accused, Abdul Karim Telgi. The CBI report also mentions details of interrogation of several persons, including former Karnataka minister Roshan Beigh; former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal's personal secretary; and former director general (establishments) of the Maharashtra police. On March 15, 2004 the Supreme Court had made it clear that no other high court of the country would entertain any petition pertaining to the 48 cases transferred to the CBI. CBI charge sheets Telgi in stamp paper scam August 10, 2004 20:39 IST The Central Bureau of Investigation has filed a charge sheet against Abdul Karim Telgi, main accused in the Rs 30,000 crore stamp paper scam, for allegedly running a fake stamp paper racket, estimated at Rs 212 crore, in the national capital. This is just one among a series of charge sheets filed against Telgi for his involvement in the scam that appears to be spread across several states. The CBI is investigating into 48 such cases. The CBI filed the charge sheet relating to Telgi's Delhi operations on Monday before Metropolitan Magistrate V K Khanna detailing the manner in
which he used to visit the capital off and on to further the circulation of fake stamp paper and collect proceeds from the sale thereof. The Delhi police had registered a case in the Hauz Khas police station in October 2003 after it stumbled on the racket dealing in fake judicial and non-judicial stamp papers. It had arrested seven persons in this connection. Investigation of the case was later transferred to the CBI. The agency claimed to have found entries of counterfeit stamps supplied by Telgi to his aides in Delhi in his laptop. This laptop was recovered by a Special Investigation Team, which probed another case registered against Telgi in Pune. HC grants bail to Wagal August 30, 2004 21:10 IST The Bombay high court granted bail on medical grounds to former special inspector general of police Sridhar Wagal, arrested for his alleged complicity in the multi-crore fake stamp paper scam. Justice D G Deshpande granted bail to Wagal for four weeks. Wagal was the second top-ranking Maharashtra police officer to secure bail in the case. Earlier, ACP Pradeep Sawant had secured bail from the high court. Wagal was admitted to the Nanavati Hospital, where he was scheduled to undergo surgery. Wagal was arrested in October 2003 under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. He was accused of shielding Abdul Karim Telgi, the prime accused in the stamp paper scam. The CBI has alleged that Wagal collected large sums of money from Telgi through assistant police inspector Dilip Kamath. Jailed Telgi aide dead September 30, 2004 14:21 IST Last Updated: September 30, 2004 14:38 IST Abdul Mujahid, a key aide of Abdul Karim Telgi, the prime accused in the multi-crore fake stamp paper scam, died in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, senior prison officer S S Chouhan said. Mujahid (70), who was lodged in the Indore district jail, complained of uneasiness and was referred to hospital. He died before reaching there, the jail officer said. Mujahid had established Telgi's network in Indore and Malwa under the name Malwa Enterprises, the police said. He was arrested and brought to Indore from Mumbai by the Central Bureau of Investigation on July 5 and sent to the district jail. Mujahid belongs to Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, and was appointed by Telgi as his front man in the region, the police said. Fake stamp scam: CBI raids 5 cops October 08, 2004 14:24 IST The Central Bureau of Investigation raided the residences of five police officers of Maharashtra at Mumbai, Thane and Nashik in connection with the fake stamp paper scam. The investigating agency raided the residence of Senior Inspector D K Ghule at Panvel, Sub-Inspector H M Vichare of Mumbai Crime Branch,
Inspector Anil Deshmukh of Nashik city and Sub-Inspector R M Powar at Ambad in Nashik district, CBI sources said. Stamp paper scam kingpin in Kolkata: Telgi October 31, 2004 00:53 IST Prime accused in the fake stamp paper scam Abdul Karim Telgi gave a signed statement to his lawyer Harshad Nimbalkar in the special MCOCA court premises in Pune, stating that the kingpin in the case was not him but a businessman from Kolkata. "In his statement, Telgi claimed that he was just a tool while the kingpin of the whole racket was Mohammed Sayeed Mohammed Yasin, who was involved in printing and sale of fake stamp papers," Nimbalkar told reporters later. Telgi has also claimed that he has received a threat to his life from one of the co-accused in the Yerawada Jail in Pune, his lawyer said. Besides, he has also said that cash and stamp papers have been stolen from the premises belonging to him and he has informed about this to the CBI. Telgi was brought to Special MCOCA court earlier in the day in connection with his plea for a fresh narco-analysis test and brain mapping alleging that the earlier one was 'false and fabricated'. The court has rejected his plea. Ex-Mumbai police chief gets interim bail November 04, 2004 14:05 IST The Supreme Court granted bail to former Mumbai police commissioner R S Sharma, who was arrested for his alleged involvement in the fake stamp paper scam. A bench comprising Justice N Santosh Hegde and Justice S B Sinha accepted Sharma's application but after imposing stringent conditions bond of Rs 50,000 along with two sureties of the like amount. Sharma was granted interim bail till the first week of December when his application for regular bail will be taken up for hearing. The apex Court ordered him to deposit his passport with authorities, not make an attempt to contact any witness and not leave Pune without the permission of the court. Pune is his original place of residence. He has to co-operate with the investigation as and when required. Only one Telgi property sold February 16, 2005 13:52 IST Last Updated: February 16, 2005 18:49 IST Only one of the three properties of Abdul Karim Telgi -- the prime accused in the fake stamp-paper racket -- that were up for auction in Bangalore was sold. S Palani, tax recovery officer, Central Range-I, said Mac Charles Pvt Ltd, a concern of Le Meridian Hotels, bought the Green Halgh building on Palace Road at a reserve price of Rs 1.43 crore. Two other properties -- Azad Point, with a reserve price of Rs 2.71 crore and Corporation building number 100, with a reserve price of Rs 2.42 crore -found no bidders.
The I-T department had decided to auction the properties to recover tax arrears of Rs 11.85 crore from 1996 to 2003 -- tax, fine and penalty -- due from Telgi. Telgi has disputed it and claims he owes only Rs 2.36 crore. Charges against Telgi on March 23 March 17, 2005 17:39 IST A special court hearing the 1995 fake stamp paper case has deferred framing of charges against prime accused Abdul Karim Telgi and his two associates to March 23. Judge U D Salvi deferred the framing of charges as Telgi's lawyer Jaydeep Thakker sought time. Telgi was not produced before the Central Bureau of Investigation court, but the judge, through video conferencing, instructed the superintendent of Yerwada prison in Pune to ensure that Telgi be presented on March 23. The judge also told the jailor to allow Telgi's lawyer to meet his client in jail for two hours on any working day. Prosecution submitted the draft charges to be framed against the accused under the Indian Penal Code and Stamp Act on Thursday. The court will decide on framing charges against Telgi and his two associates Ramratan Soni and Sanjay Gaikwad for their alleged complicity in the fake currency racket registered by M R A Marg police station in 1995. All three are charged with circulating counterfeit stamp papers in the market. M R A Marg police had seized fake stamp papers from Telgi's aides in 1995 and registered a case against the trio. Telgi: Special court frames charges April 04, 2005 19:00 IST Last Updated: April 04, 2005 21:36 IST A special Central Bureau of Investigation court framed charges against stamp scam prime accused Abdul Karim Telgi and his associate Sanjay Gaekwad in a case registered in 1995. The court framed various charges including sections 120 (B), 255, 256, 258, 259, 263 and 420 read with 511 of the Indian Penal Code, besides section 63 of the Bombay Stamp Act. These sections pertain to conspiracy, counterfeiting government stamps, possessing fake stamps, selling counterfeit stamps and cheating. Judge U D Salvi, however, granted them 15 days to move the Bombay high court for filing an appeal against the order. Both, along with their associate Ramratan Soni, are facing charges of circulating fake stamp papers in the market. CBI says investigations in stamp paper scam are over December 05, 2005 21:31 IST The Central Bureau of Investigation informed a Delhi court that investigation into the multi-crore fake stamp paper scam case involving Abdul Karim Telgi is over.
The public prosecutor appearing for the CBI communicated the development to Metropolitan Magistrate S S Rathi that the agency has completed its probe in a fake stamp case, which was lodged by Delhi police in 2001 and later transferred to it. A third supplementary chargesheet in the case against Telgi and 15 others was filed by the CBI on July 22 and, as per the agency sources, the final chargesheet will be filed shortly. Telgi is presently lodged in Yerawada jail in Pune. Meanwhile, the magistrate extended the remand of Pramod Jhanvekar, Laxaman Maruti, Khadar Shah Mohammed Yousuf Singoti and Telgi, who appeared through video-conferencing held at Karkardooma courts, till December 12. The Delhi police in 2001 had recovered fake stamp papers worth Rs 61 lakh from the possession of a key Telgi aide, Sohail Khan, in Delhi's Daryaganj area. The other 12 accused who were lodged in Tihar jail were - Sohail, Mansoor Ahmed, Deepak Bhosele, Ramneek Kanwar Dheeraj Kanwar, Amit Kumar, Sanjay Raina, Devinder Mahajan, Abdul Hafiz, Jai Manchanda, Lalit Patodi and Shyam Sunder Pataudi. Three other accused in the case - Muzahid, Wasm Shah and Ajay Grover – were still absconding. As expected the CBI has taken over investigations into the multi-crore fake stamp scam, which is spread to almost entire country except Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Political considerations played heavily when two major states where the scam originated opposed the proposal to hand over the investigations to the CBI. It was just a matter of time before the CBI took over the investigations of a chain of operations spread over last decade. However, Maharashtra chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde and deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal strongly opposed handing over the investigation to the CBI claiming that the BJP would use it against the Congress and the NCP. Karnataka chief minister S.M. Krishna also supported the move to oppose the CBI and the Congress high command also aired similar views not realizing that they were falling into the trap. Unfortunately the political leadership of both these states failed to understand the gravity of the situation and the reach of the culprits involved in the fake stamp scam. It was not merely the question of how much money Abdul Karim Telgi and his henchmen made and how much loot they shared with police officers, security press officials, politicians and others to cover up their misdeeds. It now appears that more than the BJP leadership which was obviously curious to know what exactly transpired and how it was executed and who were involved in cover-up operations, it was the central agencies, which were clearly disturbed over the developments. The tapes reluctantly handed over by the Karnataka police to Maharashtra police at the instance of the Mumbai high court throws light on how a well oiled network of operatives controlled by Telgi could influence the state government, the Nashik security press, police and politicians.
It was not merely the case of a few intelligent people joining hands to make a fast buck by producing fake stamp papers but the money generated played havoc with the system. The question most of the Central agencies asked each other was where the money is supposed to be to the tune of Rs 39,000 crores gone. Obviously, this kind of money is not used for any charitable work or for any developmental work but will be used decisively for subversion which poses a threat to the national security. Part of this money is supposed to have been used for recent bomb blasts and there appears to be a link between Telgi's network and the terrorists' outfit. This presents a horrible picture. Just imagine, top police officials on the Telgi's list of beneficiaries, could be used without any impunity to cover up other acts of sabotage and terrorism. Even before the case is handed over formally by the Central government to the Central Bureau of investigation, top sleuths of these agencies were already on job gathering more information on the scam. The worst fear of the CBI and other intelligence agencies is the possibility of a link between the Indian underworld based in Dubai and the fake stamp paper scam. CBI director P C Sharma minced no words when he announced that the agency was looking into the ramifications of the scandal from the national security angle as the money involved in the scam could be much more than the Rs 39,000 crore already estimated. A fruit vendor from Khanapur village in Karnataka cannot rise to such a level without outside help. He has been indulging in small time operations of fake stamp till 1995, but later he got really organised in a big way with the assistance from outside agencies. When it comes to finding out links between Telgi and the terrorists outfit, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) comes into the picture. As far as laundering of such huge funds is concerned, obviously the Directorate of Enforcement comes into and 27 with this backdrop; there was actually no case for either the Maharashtra or the Karnataka government to oppose CBI investigations. Shinde has accepted the CBI role but felt that early approval might have further demoralized the police officers that were involved in the meticulous job of investigating the Telgi case. It is just a matter of days now that the CBI takes over the entire case as the agency has already registered three cases in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Gujarat. The Congress leadership in Maharashtra as well as Karnataka was apprehensive about the role of the CBI at the initial stages as it felt that with the five states going to polls by this month end, the CBI might initiate action against some major functionaries of the party. The Congress high command also approved the stand initially, which was also supported by Pawar- led NCP. However, when Pawar realized the futility of the stand, he quickly shifted his stand and announced his willingness to hand over the entire investigation to the CBI. He was convinced that the state alone is not at all in a position to take on such a gigantic operation of unearthing the real nature of Telgi scam. In fact a few top Congress leaders had warned against such a rigid stand but they were ignored. When they were given a chance to present their
viewpoint it was too late as by then Pawar had already taken a U-turn. They had suggested that instead of handing over the investigation to the CBI, a special task force of Central agencies including CBI, IB, RAW, revenue intelligence, state police should be set up for better coordination and investigation into the scam. Ultimately the party has to take into consideration the political impact of the investigation and at the same time could not avoid its responsibility in cooperating with the Central agencies. So far the Special Investigation Team has arrested and interrogated top police officials who took money from Telgi and his accomplices to ignore fake stamp cases or provide him shelter. However, so far there is no mention of names of politicians. It is common knowledge that unless there is support from the political establishment, it is not possible either for the police or for the Telgi network to work without any impunity. The question now discussed in political circles is “Who are the politicians behind providing protection to Telgi?” Two MLAs, one from Maharashtra and another from Karnataka are already behind bars and they are being investigated by SIT. The tapes with the SIT will now provide the real evidence against the politicians who were really in touch with Telgi. The Karnataka police have done a wonderful job by taping Telgi's conversations with his operators as well as all those officers and politicians who helped him. These conversations were recorded when Telgi was languishing in Karnataka jail. Neither he nor those who talked to him were aware that they were being watched. Now these tapes and voices on these tapes will decide the fate of many small and big political leaders. It will not be possible for anyone whether in state government or Central agencies to shield anyone. With the CBI taking over investigations, the Central government as well as the state governments will be aware of who are the real culprits. With so much of evidence, which will be later corroborated by income tax and other agencies, no one should be able to get off the noose. Involved politicians from Maharashtra are worried about Telgi tapes.
Cases and evidences against senior cops
R S Sharma Nine cases lapses reported by the SIT. Sharma should seek solace in the fact that the SIT does not have anything on record, which indicts Sharma of pecuniary advantage. Sharma is heavily censured for being supportive of ACP C Mulani and dismissive of additional commissioner, S Mushrif, hinting at weak supervision of the case. Certain confessions of accused and statement of witnesses against Sharma have influenced SIT’s viewpoint towards Sharma. Sridhar Vagal
Strong evidence of pecuniary advantage to the tune of Rs 76 lakh. Damning confessions from his subordinates like Dilip Kamat, Dattatray Dhal and Vashist Andhale. Recorded evidence of showing ‘extreme interest’ in the case beyond brief. For instance, Vagal got all five cases registered by various police stations to the Crime Branch Unit V through an order passed under his signature. An order that could have been passed by an officer of the rank of an ACP was emphatically executed by the joint commissioner. Obviously, it was done to gain bargaining power with Telgi. The seizure of Rs 837 crore fake stamp paper should have been transferred to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) and not the DCB unit. Pradip Sawant Once again, the SIT does not have anything on record that indicts Sawant as having gained pecuniary advantage in the case. However, there are other issues that project him in critical manner: Sawant was negligent in the investigation of the fake stamp case on the pretext of it not being the crime branch’s priority. Sawant was ignorant of his officers like Kamat, Dhal and Andhale’s dubious dealings and leniency towards Telgi while he was in the crime branch custody. No further progress in the investigation was made in the Rs 837 crore fake stamp seizure case despite it happening on January 11, 2003.
Royal treatment for Telgi Abdul Karim Telgi, the prime accused in the multi crore fake stamp paper scam, had received Luxurious treatment while in custody of Mumbai crime branch between November 2002 and January 2003, sources in the Special Investigating Team (S.I.T) stated. Instead of lodging him in the crime branch lock-up, the police had put him up in hotel Apsara in Kurla for nearly 30 days. S.I.T sources alleged that Telgi was accorded royal treatment and provided with comforts of an air conditioned room and other luxuries. An S.I.T officer stated, Telgi was brought to Mumbai in November 2002 on a transfer warrant in a murder case registered against him at Cuffe Parade Police Station. Strangely this case was transferred from Cuffe Parade Police Station to Dharavi unit of crime branch. Two officers from this unit, namely Dattatrey Dhal and Dilip Kamat were already familiar with Telgi. Kamat was earlier posted at the Colaba Police Station where a case was registered against Telgi in 1995, but the latter managed to bribe officers and go scot free. When Telgi was brought to Dharavi Crime Branch in November 2002, Kamat and Dhal showed him as an accused in seven offences of fake stamp papers, Although the sought Telgis Police custody, the latter was not kept in a lock-up the S.I,T officers said. The two officers also did precious little to investigate the seven cases. Instead the took bribes from Telgi to arrange an ac room for him in Hotel
Apsara in Kurla, the officer said. The hotel authorities were unavailable for comment. Kamat and Dhal were booked by the S.I.T have now been booked under the aiding and and abetting Telgi in the scam. Sources said the the officers had not kept any records about Telgis Stay at the hotel they also did not make any record in the dairy entry at the crime branch office about Telgis visit to the Hotel. The Sit has, however, come across certain evidence which shows that Telgi had enjoyed the comforts in the hotel while in Police custody. It is learnt that SIT has seized records from motor transport department, whose vehicle had escorted Telgi and the Police man to the hotel The S.I.T has also questioned a few witness in this connection. A crime branch official in Mumbai confirmed that Telgi was put up in at a hotel during custody, it was wrong and illegal he said. What came as a surprise to the S.I.T was that Dhal and Kamat were favouring Telgi allegedly at the behest of a senior police officer from the crime branch. This officer was still to be questioned in the case. He was also likely to face arrest in the scam. Abdul Karim Telgi Ki Ajeeb Dastaan. • “Lala” Telgi’s Code name was the son of a Class 4 employee in the railways. After his father’s death, he picked fruits from the forest and sold them at the Khanapur station. He and his brothers studied at the local Sarvodaya Vidyalaya, an English-Medium School. He completed his B.Com from a Belgaum college before moving to Saudi Arabia. Came to Mumbai after seven years in Saudi Arabia and worked as a travel agent. Later he worked in a Colaba guest house. Around this time he developed underworld links. • Arrested in 1991by Mumbai police for cheating learnt the tricks of the trade from an expert forger in prison. He bribed his way out of the jail and bided this time. In 1994, he acquired a stamp paper license, set up at Mint Road and ‘befriended’ people in the revenue ministry, stamp office and Nashik Security Press where stamp papers are printed. • He used his political connections to get the machinery at the Nashik press declared as ‘junk’; brought it as the highest bidder; set up the machinery at his office in Mumbai. • Obtained the original die for printing in connivance with Nashik security officials and began printing Fake Stamp Papers. His excellent political connections to procure imported paper. • “Friends” at the Nashik press informed him about the serial numbers of papers being published during the month. Telgi’s Fakes carried the same numbers and reached the Mumbai markets
• The Fakes were then distributed to authorized members and sold along with genuine ones. Telgi bribed officials to create a shortage in the supply of stamp papers. • He appointed 300 people, including M.B.A.’s as agents who sold the fake to bulk purchasers: banks, FIs, insurance companies, Share broking firms. His monthly earnings were 100 crores. • Several cases against him in the 90’s.Was denied bail but not arrested. Finally arrested in August 2001, after he’d made crores in the business spanning 72 centers in 12 states over 10 years.
The Swindler’s Story began when Abdul Karim Telgi started printing and distributing fake stamp papers in Mumbai in 1995. He bought a second hand printing machine from the Nashik Security Press at an auction. He then reportedly stole original dies used for manufacturing stamps and stamp papers. His excellent political connections helped him procure imported paper and organized that his fakes couldn’t be distinguished from the originals. This printing and sales of fake stamp duty paper spread losses worth crores of rupees to the Indian government. The fake stamp papers were then sold in the market through Telgi’s distribution agents – most of these agents included several authorized stamp vendors. Telgi paid hefty commissions to buy their silence. As a result nobody leaked information about the racket to the enforcement authorities. He bought politicians too. These politicians, who were on Telgi’s regular payroll deliberately created a shortage in supply of stamp papers in Mumbai. It was then that Telgi’s marketing agents sold the fakes for a premium outside the government stamp office in fort area. When finally the Mumbai police got wind of the scam and registered cases against telgi at 12 police stations, telgi simply bribed his way out of the hole he suddenly found himself in. He managed to escape from Mumbai despite the court rejecting is bail application. The Bangalore police suddenly arrested him in Ajmer in august 2000. By then his scam had spread across 12 states. Telgi’s organized racket had the connivance of officials from the Nashik Security Press, IAS and IPS officers, lawyers, MLA’s, cabinet ministers and even former state minister. The 1st Arrest Andhra Pradesh police first unearthed the stamp paper scam way back in 1999. They even arrested Telgi who managed to secure bail within a week with the connivance of some city police officers. The case was handed over
to the CID for further probe, which failed to file a charge sheet even after a 4-year investigation. People almost forgot the case until the Maharashtra Police arrested TDP legislator C.Krishna Yadav in September, 2003. Yadav reportedly demanded Rs 2 crores from Telgi as protection money. Yadav was in Pune jail. The Andhra Pradesh also set up S.I.T to probe the scam but the team made little headway. Mystery of the missing Moolah By: S Hussain Zaidi November 16, 2003 The fake stamp scam, pegged at anything between Rs 2,200 to Rs 67,000 crore, fails to substantiate the inflated figures associated with it. Experts say these figures have been estimated on the basis of the 18 states expected to be in the grip of the scam. The figure approximates the extent of circulation of fake documents into these states thus pushing the figures to an appalling magnitude. However, simple mathematics of permutation and combination defies the logic of the sum total submitted, to describe the swindle. According to a senior crime branch officer, when a sharpshooter is arrested for murder, the first thing recovered is the weapon used to shoot the victim. Similarly, when a gang of robbers is busted, booty recovery is top priority. But in Telgi’s case the question is, where is the money? The officer further says that as per the SIT records, Telgi allegedly owned 11 plush properties including shops and flats in south Mumbai, a couple of apartments in the suburbs and several properties in Pune. Even if we estimate that each of these properties is worth Rs three crore, the amount is not more than Rs 50 crore. It is being widely assumed that Telgi distributed largesse of Rs 50 crore to several ministers and policemen, though Rs 76 lakh is the highest amount of bribe that Telgi shelled out for a senior crime branch officer. Even then, the total amount of scam does not cross Rs 100 crore, adds the officer. “Where has the money gone?” asks an officer of the rank of a Deputy Inspector General (DIG). So far the SIT has not attached or seized properties or wealth worth even Rs 300 crore leave alone Rs 30,000 crore. Besides Telgi’s properties, the sleuths have sealed the properties of police officers like Dilip Kamath and Vashist Andhale because they seem disproportionate to their income. However, these seizures are not even a fraction of the total amount swindled. According to senior officers in the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) who are already investigating fake stamp rackets in at least three states, if Telgi had managed to generate this kind of money, he would have had it laundered abroad and started preparing to leave the country. But the way in which he remained hooked to his original business and insisted on expanding his business showed that he was not working alone. In fact, Telgi managed to establish ‘a parallel economy’ on the sheer
strength of his clout and contacts. And the money he minted was not massive but enough to support his opulent lifestyle and that of his aides. Senior police officers in Mumbai police maintain that though the SIT has arrested the brawns (Telgi and his tribe of conniving cops) behind the scam, they are yet to bust the brains (who are running Telgi). Telgi may be the kingpin of the scam but he is not the one who calls the shots, they say. Telgi is likely to be just the front man for a cabal working anonymously, and making conditions favourable for the smooth functioning of his racket. This cabal comprises of some resourceful politicians and shrewd bureaucrats. The way Telgi walked over top politicians be it the promotion of Ganga Prakash, in Central Press at Nashik, through recommendations of former law minister Ram Jethmalani. Obtaining favours through former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh or using the services of Samajwadi Janata Party member of Legislative Assembly, Anil Gote and managing to buy the discarded equipments of Nashik press. Even in the neighbouring state, Telgi had benign helpers like former labour minister of Andhra Pradesh, Krishna Yadav. This networking also helped him become aware of highly classified production programmes of the Security Press at Nashik, which are not known to even top ministers in the state or the Central Cabinet. There are also instances where when some people threatened to upset the applecart, they were conveniently eliminated. For example, the disappearance and elimination of three witnesses in the Telgi case including Anand, Poojary and Amir Khan Choudhary recently. Earlier, Telgi’s aide, John Bhatti, was found dead under similarly mysterious circumstances. The biggest question that remains unanswered is how did Telgi manage to keep politicians and ministers from all parties at his beck and call? This included ministers from Congress and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and bureaucrats from the Shiv Sena regime. This clearly indicates that Telgi had a godfather who covertly helped him grease palms of politicians and policemen as and when required. Not to mention providing intelligence to Telgi and solutions to silence people who tried to hamper operations. “We are trying to explore all the angles in the investigations ruling out nothing. We shall disclose everything at the appropriate time,” said a senior officer at SIT. Currently, the SIT investigations are aimed at exposing two kinds of accomplices Telgi had in uniform — those who collaborated with him to gain pecuniary advantages and those whose dereliction of supervision proved expedient to Telgi. MLA Anil Gote, joint commissioner, Sridhar Vagal, API Dilip Kamath and PI Vashist Andhale are all officers who allegedly received pay-offs from Telgi, while the role of Deputy Commissioner of Police Pradip Sawant and police chief R S Sharma is under the scanner for the latter category. General Opinions Lawyers:
Telgi Scam was started in the year 1991 but came into light 1 year ago. The first case was registered in Pune but no action was taken against him. Abdul Karim Ladsab Telgi of Indian origin is booked under the Indian Penal Code Section 255,256,257,258,259,260 which covers counterfeiting and the most important Section 256 which involves Making and Selling Government Documents. In relevance with the stamp scam the government has forbidden the sale of such stamps through dealers or private vendors. Now days , Stamp papers are issued at respective Court counters and Town halls. Social Reformer ‘Anna Hazare’ exposed the scam and hence it came to light. The police force is completely demoralized. The government has made all dealings done through fake stamp papers ‘Legal’. The lawyers say that this scam has ‘Rocked’ the economy of India and different States. Police: We visited the Santacruz Police Station and the Bandra Police Station and spoke with L.B. Shaikh (I.S.P) and Arun Sarwe (Head Constable). According to them the scam started in the year 1991 and the main people involved were Abdul Karim .L. Telgi and everyone who supported him including all the police and politicians. They said that stern action was taken by the government by arresting most of the players who helped Telgi in his multi crore scam. When asked what the role of the police was and if the Mumbai Police is still the second best in the world, Inspector Shaikh agreed and replied “The Maharashtra Police Force has themselves strict action against their Colleagues and Superiors by arresting them. Hence this proves that the Maharashtra Police Force is still the second best as who the defaulter is has to be punished – on this principle the morale of the police force is high”. No one, even the police knows where all the money has gone. It seems as if it has vanished into thin air. When asked for their comments the said that they should always take action against the defaulters and put them behind bars. Public: The general public opinion about the Telgi Scam is that they are least bothered about the whole scam. The public is outraged as they feel cheated and they are surprised on the hypes at which corruption can reach and feel the accused should be punished. The declaration of the government that all the dealings on the fake scam paper are valid has enlightened the public to a certain extent. Whatever little trust the public had on the Police Department has evaporated after the whole scam came into light. The anger and the distrust in the hearts of the people against the government has grown even more after the whole incident. Overall, the Telgi scam has not affected the public directly so they are least bothered about what is happening right now.
Julio F Ribeiro, one of Mumbai's best-known police commissioners, was shocked to know that present city Police Commissioner Ranjit Singh Sharma was interrogated by a Special Investigating Team for 14 hours. In an interview to Associate Editor and Chief Correspondent Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai, Ribeiro -- the highly acclaimed director general of police of Punjab during the worst phase of terrorism in the state -- says he is ashamed at the state of the Mumbai police today. What was your reaction on hearing that the Special Investigating Team interrogated Mumbai Police Commissioner R S Sharma in the Telgi case? I feel ashamed and sad that the police force that was so well respected has come to this situation. The Telgi case has demoralised the Mumbai police force. I know top police officers in the Mumbai police who have no enthusiasm left after this case. I feel that the people of Bombay should sit up and take notice. In my opinion, the home minister of Maharashtra, Chhagan Bhujbal, has singlehandedly destroyed the force. I won't say it was good during the Shiv Sena's time. One Mumbai police commissioner used to go and touch (Shiv Sena leader) Bal Thackeray's feevery now and then during his time.
Why has this happened? This has happened because the political class has manipulated the police and they in turn are not respecting the rule of law. Policemen are only respecting political parties and the home minister's order now. How were things different in your time? In our time, we had good political leaders and good officers. They were people of great moral character. You wouldn't find politicians interfering in police officers' jobs. There was corruption to some extent, there was always some corruption during the British time too, but that was a 'need-based' corruption. Today there is 'greed-based' corruption. When you left the police did you ever expect things would go so badly? Never, over a period of time the parties who have come to power have all done these things. Now the situation is very bad. Why are you targeting Mr Bhujbal in particular?
I have nothing against him. When I meet him I talk to him. I feel he should not have thrown out good people from top police posts. That was a stupid decision. I am now worried about the consequences of his actions. He is supporting wrong people in the police force. Is the home minister more powerful compared to your time? There were attempts of political interference in my time but I did not allow it. When I was transferred I said I won't do the job. So you have to stand up to the bullies. Today in the army, if you tell [Chief of Army Staff] General N C Vij that you promote this brigadier here and there, we will lose all wars. You should appoint a good commissioner and good director general. Politicians must not interfere. There are competent people in the police force and you must let them do their job. Politicians are not elected to run the police force. Today, politicians money, power and at the same time want police officers to work for them. Are you in touch with the police officers of today? If yes, what do they tell you? Yes, I am in touch with them. Many good officers tell me they want to get out of the police force. Those who don't want to resign go to the Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing or Central Bureau of Investigation. Those who want to be in uniform go to the paramilitary like the Central Reserve Police Force and National Security Guard. But Mr Bhujbal and the Democratic Front government claim the crime rate in Mumbai has decreased. I am not sure of these statistics. They are not always correct. If murders have come down I would like to see that figure. Why did you meet the chief minister? I want the chief minister of Maharashtra to take the home portfolio under him. If his government is supporting the wrong people I have the right to inform him about these things. Do you think if social activist Anna Hazare had not filed public interest litigation in the Telgi case, things would not have moved so fast? Senior police officers would not have been caught if the high court had not intervened. The Special Investigating Team reports to the home department. Do you think these people can go against the DG [director general of police] and commissioner? That is not possible. How easy is it for people like Telgi to manipulate policemen? It is very easy. Money speaks.
There was a controversy a few months ago about the post of Mumbai police commissioner. The media alleged the post was up for sale. Do you believe that? This is what the policemen too say. They say that every post has a price. First, during the Shiv Sena government, I heard a policeman paid Rs 40 lakhs (Rs 4 million) to be in a higher post. I could not believe it. Now everyone talks about it. Everybody knows how much one has to pay to be in which post. A sub inspector, an inspector all posts. Why did this not happen in your time? We had better political leaders. When I was appointed Babasaheb Bhosale was the chief minister and Shrikant Jichkar was home secretary, a very honest man. He never took anything from anyone. But do you think the post of Mumbai police commissioner is for sale? I hope it is not. But I tell you the next time it will not happen. I am not going to elaborate on my plans. Don't you feel that the Mumbai police should be proud because it was successful in eliminating gangsters? I don't think anybody should be proud of it. I think encounters take place because the public wants it. Encounters are taking place because the judicial process is so slow in our country. I have given lectures to judges. They should not allow adjournments of cases of hardcore criminals. Don't you think the Mumbai police is a good police force? Yes, it is a good police force but they need a great leader to lead them. Solving the August 25 twin blasts case was an achievement, wasn't it? Yes, they have great informants. They take pains to solve the problem. No big criminal goes scot-free. The Mumbai blasts took place in March 1993 and they had solved the case by April. It took six months for the New York police to find Ramzi Yousef's name in the World Trade Centre blast of 1993. What would you have done if you were Maharashtra's director general of police today? I would have not gone to Mantralaya (the state secretariat) very often. I would have stated that I would not sign the orders to transfer good officers. But I was fortunate to get good politicians. Today there are vicious people in power. Now take [Sridhar] Vagal, why was he made joint commissioner? No one knows. I have written a letter to the director general press information in Mantralaya to let me know why he was given that post. I have the right to know this under the Right to Information Act. Mr. R S Sharma worked under you. How was he at that time? Many of today's police officers worked for me and all of them worked very hard. Even Vagal was under me and they were the best. I am surprised that
the same Sharma was called for a 14-hour interrogation. I could have understood if it was for two hours but 14 hours! I am shocked. As a citizen of this city, what do you think the Mumbai police is not doing? The duty of the police is to befriend law-abiding citizens. At the moment there are complaints that they are extorting [money from] people. Individually no one approaches the police station. This culture has reached the top level. I feel people should organize themselves in their own areas to solve issues with the police.
I am not the kingpin, claims Abdul Karim Telgi Seeking to give a new twist, prime accused in the multi-thousand crore fake stamp paper scam, Abdul Karim Telgi claimed that another accused Mohammed Sayeed was the "kingpin" of the racket. "Mohammed Sayeed is the kingpin. I have told everything to the police," Telgi told the media as he was whisked away by police after being produced in a court. When asked about details regarding Sayeed, head of the Special Investigation Team (STAMPIT) in Karnataka, and that the man was arrested by STAMPIT from Kolkata on April 28 last year. Sayeed was also wanted in stamp paper racket cases registered in Pune as also by Crime Branch-CID. Currently, he is in the custody of Mumbai Police. Sayeed, in his 50s, was in the fake stamp paper business earlier than Telgi. Sayeed specialized in recycling of stamps. Telgi also said he is "happy" that the Karnataka Government has handed over the case to CBI, from which he was confident of getting "justice". He has claimed that Ram Jethmalani would fight his case in the Supreme Court.
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