We all know about Scam 1992 which was pulled off by none other than the Big Bull aka Harshad Mehta. The RBI’s Jankiraman investigation committee estimated the value of the scam to be worth more than even 4,000 Crore Rupees. By then no-one could have guessed that there was another scam going on during the same time. This flourished day by day and no one knew about it. This is known as Stamp Paper Scam.
All About Telgi’s childhood
Abdul Karim Telgi was born in Karnataka in the year 1961. His father was a class IV employee at a railway station in Khanapur, Belgaum. Unfortunately, when Telgi was quite young, his father passed away. He had no more options, and so he sold fruits and vegetables at the railway station. Along with that, he also completed his schooling in Sarvodaya Vidyalaya an English medium school in Khanapur. He then went on to complete his graduation in commerce while working at the station itself.
Telgi wanted to do something very different, and so he went to Saudi Arabia. He returned to India after seven long years. Telgi started to brush up some crime by making counterfeiting documents, credentials and fake passports. He started as a travel agent and sent people abroad. He was caught and went to jail for cheating. When he was inside the prison, he came to know about a person named Ratan Soni. Ratan Soni was basically working in the stock market and was making fake share documents. Therefore, he was serving his sentence in the same prison.
He was an expert in forging documents and reportedly he had played a major role in Telgi’s life, as he taught him the art of forging documents. Telgi got out of the jail and within no time he got engaged in executing his wicked intentions of forging documents. This is where one of the biggest scams began.
Stamp Paper Scam
When Telgi started his scam of faking documents, he first tried to erase the ink of the stamp paper. By doing this, he would make the stamp paper like a new one and sell the paper again. After doing it for a long time, he found that the profit coming out of this didn’t match the scale what Telgi had in his mind.
He got the news of postal stamps, revenue stamps, judicial and non-judicial stamps have its base production in the India Security Press. Telgi sniffed an opportunity here and started planning on working around this system and to earn massive amounts of profit from this system. His plan was quite big as he thought of running a parallel economy of stamps. He wanted certain men from the inside of the India Security Press. He bribed a few of them and kept them on his side.
Generally, when a machine goes bad, the press used to dismantle it and auction the parts to avoid the forging of stamps. But because Telgi had men on the inside, he was able to get the machine in a decent condition. He used to take part in the auctions and buy them. As per reports officials gave him with the negative and positive blocks of the stamps to print the stamps.
Telgi was doing an illegal business, but was using the legal prints. This defrauded the government and increased the number of stamp papers. The officials also helped him sell the stamp papers by creating their scarcity. They dispatched the official stamp papers to certain addresses which never existed. Therefore, the demand for fake stamp paper had increased. Soon, Telgi had around 350 agents working under him to sell these fake stamps in bulk to banks, insurance company and other financial institutions.
End of Telgi Scam
Telgi’s scam went very on for a few years, then in 1995 Mumbai police got to know about one of his forging firm but he had connections with the big shots that he easily bypassed this by bribing them. He continued forging and through that he was able to capture around 36 properties around India and as per reports he also invested in TV series and Bollywood movies.
In the year 2000, Bangalore police received information about the production of fake stamps. When they caught hold a few of them involved in this scam, they understood about the man named Telgi. It was very difficult for the police to catch Telgi as he had political support. Then finally in 2001 Karnataka police arrested Telgi, but that did not stop his work. He bribed a few police officers in Bangalore and continued his operations over the phone. An IPS officer found out about this, and issued an order to tap all his phone calls and as per reports they were able to recover the stamps worth rupees 400 crores from different places in India. Post investigation of Telgi sentenced him for 30 years of imprisonment.
In 2017, Telgi passed away in Bangalore due to multiple organ failure. After a year of his death, the police arrested many people involved and recovered a lot of money but the government incurred losses worth crores. As per reports, the total scam amount is an estimate of 20,000 crore rupees.