The multi-crore fake stamp papers scam of the early 2000s – popularly known as the Telgi scam – is back in the spotlight, with the Mumbai police having filed first information reports (FIR) relating to it at eight police stations. One of these was filed at Bhandup police station six months ago, while the other seven were filed in the last week of September.
The FIRs are against unknown people suspected to have forged, used and sold bogus stamp papers. As part of their investigations, the police will once again scrutinise the role of Abdul Karim Telgi, the kingpin, who was sentenced to 30 years in jail in 2006 and another 13 years in 2007 for another aspect of the scam.
One of the FIRs, a copy of which is with HT, states that unused stamp papers submitted to the police by authorised vendors and LIC officials in 2003 and sent to the Indian Security Press at Nasik were found to have been forged.
An official in the office of the additional controller of stamps said, “We first place an order with the Indian Security Press on the basis of the demands of our authorised vendors. The stamps are made and handed over to us. We then pass them on the vendors as per their demands.”
The vendors, who include officials in banks, insurance companies and stock brokerage firms, hand over their unused stamp papers to the south Mumbai stamp office and apply for refunds. It is mandatory for stamp officials to send these returned papers to the Indian Security Press for inspection.
“After getting the returned stamp papers (in 2003), we sent them to the Indian Security Press for inspections on January 14, 2004. On September 16, 2013, we received the reports, which confirmed that stamp papers were forgeries,” said an officer.
Police officials believe that the investigation into the scam has been delayed by certain highly influential people looking to subvert it.
Three years after receiving the reports, supervisors in the office of the additional controller of stamps went to the concerned police stations and registered complaints of forgery. The one at Bhandup was registered in April while the remaining seven – at Mulund, RAK, Dongri, Borivali, Pydhonie, LT Marg, MRA police stations – were registered in September. In addition, stamp officials have submitted a complaint at Ghatkopar police station, which will also be converted into an FIR soon.
An investigating officer, who did not wish to be named, said, “The stamp officials handed us complaint applications, on the basis of which cases were registered under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code against unidentified accused. We have started our investigations and have sent letters to the relevant authorities.”
STAMP PAPERS New cases based on 2013 report from Indian Security Press, which found that stamp papers that police sent to it in 2004 were bogus