A Special CBI court on Friday sentenced Abdul Karim Telgi and his four associates to seven years' rigorous imprisonment for killing his driver in 2001, even as the master forger stood in the dock, his hands folded, and pleaded: "My lord my life is like a bubble on the water; it can burst any time."
Referring to AIDS and diabetes he is suffering from, a sobbing Telgi told the court, "No medicine is available for my diseases and my health is deteriorating day by day. My wife is also on her deathbed and only my minor daughter is at home."
The court had on Thursday charged the fake stamp paper kingpin with culpable homicide not amounting to murder for killing Christopher Bhatti, the driver who worked at Telgi's stamp selling office in Chennai.
Special Judge UD Salvi rejected Telgi's plea that the sentence run consecutively with other sentences which different courts have handed him in various states.
Special Public Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat said Telgi and four others — Sajid Khan, Mohammed Ghaus Shigwe, Maqdum Hussain and Kalim Bandenawaz — had tortured Bhatti so badly that he died of his injuries. The driver was looking after his old father and was also an artist who played the harmonica at church. It was pre-calculated murder done with a cold mind and the torture stopped only when they realised Bhatti was dead, Gharat told court, seeking the maximum punishment of seven years for Telgi and his associates.
The court also fined the five Rs 3 lakh each. Telgi, who was brought to Mumbai under high security from the Yerawada Jail in Pune, told the court "he was not at all involved in the case". He is already serving a 13-year sentence in Pune's Yerawada jail, handed down by the Special MCOCA court. "My mother and brother have also passed away and I am the only one left to look after my family," he told the court.