Eight years after the fake stamp paper scam involving Abdul Karim Telgi rocked the country and lead to several high-profile arrests, the Ghatkopar police, on Tuesday, arrested two persons with fake stamp fee tickets worth Rs 66.6 lakh. Police suspect these were printed during the Telgi scam.
“We suspect that the fake stamp fee worth Rs 66.6 lakh recovered from the two accused was printed by the cartel headed by Abdul Karim Telgi. The package was dumped in a garbage bin at Opera House in 2003, following a heavy crackdown on the network”, said police inspector R Kothmire from Ghatkopar police station.
Acting on a tip off, police arrested 45-year-old Rakesh Choksi, an estate agent from Vile Parle with fake stamp fee.
“We arrested Chokshi after we found several fake stamps worth Rs 4.5 lakh. Following this, we raided his plush Juhu residence from where fake stamps and revenue bills worth Rs 62.1 lakh were recovered,” Kothmire said. The police later arrested his accomplice and a sweeper in the Opera House area, identified as Raju Kondar.
“Kondar has been working as a sweeper in the Opera House area for a decade while Choksi worked there till 2003 as a diamond polisher. Every night, Kondar would search for diamonds in the garbage bin that may have reached there accidentally, and pass them to Choksi, who would sell them and share the profit with Kondar,” said sub-inspector Vikram Bansode.
In 2003, when Kondar was searching for diamonds in the bin, he found packets of new stamp tickets dumped there. “Choksi knew the stamps were fake. He planned to sell them a few years later, once the crackdown on Telgi's network eased off and share the spoils with Kondar,” added Kothmire.
A few months ago, Choksi decided to sell the stamps. “Though the format of several stamps had been changed following the Telgi scam, these stamps could be used for forging old documents,” added Kothmire. Choksi was on his way to sell the stamps when he was arrested. The duo have been booked on charges of counterfeiting, possessing and selling government stamp; cheating and forgery.