The Mumbai police, which recently filed eight first-information reports (FIR) in connection with the fake stamp papers scam of the early 2000s, is now seeking information about former employees of the Life Insurance Corporation of India and authorised stamp paper vendors operating at the time of the scam.
These officials and vendors, whose identities are not yet known, sent unused stamp papers to the south Mumbai stamp office in 2003 to claim refunds. These papers were seized by the police and sent to the Indian Security Press at Nashik for testing in 2004. Almost a decade later, in 2013, the Indian Security Press released the results of their tests, which said the stamp papers were forgeries.
HT reported on Thursday that based on this report, FIRs were registered at eight police stations in the city – one in April and the rest in the last week of September. RAK Marg, Mulund and Borivali police stations registered cases against LIC officials, while LT Marg, MRA Marg, Pydhonie, Dongri and Bhandup police stations registered cases against authorised vendors.
“We initially inquired with current LIC officials at various branches but they claimed they weren’t aware of the scam and did know stamps papers for court fees were being forged,” said a police official involved in the investigation. “Following this, we have asked for information about officials who were working there in 2003,” he added.
The police are also trying to get about authorised stamp paper vendors who may have been involved in the scam. These vendors receive commissions based on the value of the stamp paper - 1% for impressed stamps, and 3% each for non-judicial and court-fee stamps.
Officials in office of the additional controller of stamps said that in the early 2000s there were more than 200 such authorised vendors, but after the scam broke, only 24 remained. “Many vendors were arrested at the time of the scam while many were discharged at the time, so we will have to find them and re-investigate the matter,” said an officer, who did not wish to be named.