Radheshyam Mopalwar, the Nanded district collector, has put former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh in a soup over the multi-crore fake stamps scam involving Abdul Karim Telgi.
Mopalwar was the superintendent of stamps when four cases were registered against Telgi and his associates. He was the first person to lodge a complaint against Telgi.
Ironically, he is also the person who had issued a stamp vendor’s licence to the scam kingpin.
Mopalwar was examined as a witness in the fake stamp case before the Special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act judge Chitra Bhedi.
He said that the recommendation from Vilasrao Deshmukh, the then revenue minister, was "a major consideration" in issuing a licence to the scam kingpin.
He said, "I was not compelled to issue licence to Telgi as per the recommendations of the then revenue minister (Deshmukh)". However, he added: "It was a major consideration" (in issuing the licence). I could not ignore the recommendation of the then revenue minister".
Earlier, Mopalwar has also tried to save Deshmukh by saying it was he (Mopalwar) who took the decision to issue a licence to Telgi.
It is alleged that a licence was issued to Telgi barely a month after receiving his application in February 1995 when hundreds of other applications had been pending for at least two years. Investigation conducted by the Special Investigation Team, set up under orders of the Bombay High Court and the Central Bureau of Investigations, have already brought to light that Telgi had managed to obtain a licence within a month only because of a recommendation from the then revenue minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
Meanwhile, Telgi has said that Mopalwar has benefited from the scam and also filed an application to try the Nanded collector as an accused in the case.