Scam 2003 to showcase story of Abdul Karim Telgi, the fruit seller who built an empire counterfeiting stamp papers

After his license to sell stamp and non-judicial stamp paper was revoked, Telgi set up his parallel printing press and circulated counterfiet stamps worth thousands of crore

FP Trending March 04, 2021 20:42:14 IST
Scam 2003 to showcase story of Abdul Karim Telgi, the fruit seller who built an empire counterfeiting stamp papers

File photo of Abdul Karim Telgi. News18

After the hit SonyLIV web series Scam 1992, Hansal Mehta is coming back with the story of another financial scamster.

The show titled 'Scam 2003: The Curious Case of Abdul Karim Telgi' is based on the book titled 'Reporter ki Diary' by journalist Sanjay Singh. Telgi was convicted of printing counterfeit stamp paper and was jailed for 13 years.

Born in 1961 in Karnataka's Khanapur, Telgi was not very well off in his early years as his father was a Class-4 railway employee.

According to a report by Deccan Herald, Telgi started as a fruit vendor at the Khanapur railway station near Belagavi. He briefly went to Saudi Arabia for work but returned to Mumbai after he lost his job.

In Mumbai, Telgi started a company called Arabian Metro Travels but was arrested by the police for forging immigration certificates.

Reportedly, Telgi met another scamster, Ratan Soni, in jail. The two decided to con people by making counterfeit stamp papers.

A senior police officer, who was a part of the Stamp Paper Investigation Team, was quoted as saying that Telgi bribed many retired employees of India Security Press to grow his business to a large scale.

Telgi and his team created counterfeits of "stamp papers, judicial court fee stamps, revenue stamps, special adhesive stamps, foreign bills, brokers notes, insurance policies, share transfer certificates, insurance agency stamps, and other legal documents," The Quint reported.

To support the counterfeit scam, they also engineered an "artificial scarcity" of official documents, the report said, adding that, "Documents worth several crores were dispatched to addresses that didn’t exist, in order to create this scarcity."

In 1995, he was arrested by the Mumbai Police but managed to secure bail.

The counterfeiter lived a lavish lifestyle. According to some reports, he once gifted Rs 93 lakhs to a bar dancer named Tarannum, whose house was raided by the Income Tax Department in 2005.

Telgi’s scam was estimated to be around Rs 20,000 crore. In 2001, Telgi was arrested in Ajmer, Rajasthan and was sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment. He was also fined Rs 202 crores.

Telgi tested HIV positive in jail and died on 27 October 2017 at a Bengaluru hospital. At the time, he was lodged at the Bangalore Central Jail.

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