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Court wants Telgi-cop tapes

Mumbai, Oct. 29: Bombay High Court has asked the Karnataka government to rush along tape transcripts of conversations Abdul Karim Telgi allegedly had with senior police officials while in a Bangalore jail.

Telgi is the alleged mastermind of the Rs 3,000-crore fake stamp-paper racket involving seven states and has been charged in 27 cases.

He is reported to have links with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and is rumoured to be worth Rs 1,700 crore.

The court has given Karnataka time till November 3 to hand over the incriminating tapes, allegedly containing conversations Telgi had with senior Mumbai cops over how he could get out of trouble.

Karnataka additional director-general of police Sri Kumar had pleaded for four weeks’ time to produce the transcripts, saying they were in different languages and needed to be translated into English. But the court insisted the transcripts have to be submitted by November 3.

Telgi was arrested by Karnataka police in November 2001 for his role in the scam and has since been lodged in Bangalore Central Jail most of the while.

A special investigation team probing the racket found Telgi had politicians and top policemen on his payroll. Forty-seven people were arrested, including two MLAs and four policemen.

Mumbai police commissioner R.S. Sharma has also come under a cloud, with Bombay High Court asking the investigating team to examine the police chief’s role in the scam.

The court has asked the probe team to submit its report by November 12 since Sharma — who was Pune police commissioner when the scam was unearthed — retires by November-end.

The transcripts contain the “offer’’ Telgi allegedly made to some officers to water down his. Police sources said an assistant commissioner of police is heard demanding Rs 15 lakh to delete the name of Telgi’s wife from the chargesheet.

Other police officers investigating the scam have been found to have taken lakhs of rupees from Telgi and jetting off executive class on luxury holidays. Some police inspectors are believed to have sold off part of the Rs 1,400-crore consignment of fake stamp papers recovered by Pune police in April 2002. The money pocketed by them amounted to nearly Rs 2.5 crore.

It has come to light that when Telgi was brought to Mumbai in October 2002 in connection with a murder case, he stayed at a luxury hotel while in “custody”.

Revelations like these have led the Mumbai crime branch to consider setting up a team of “honest and reliable” police officers to keep tab on their corrupt colleagues.

The watchdog group — the first of its kind in India — will be selected by very senior officers. It will monitor the intelligence unit and other departments, gathering evidence on suspect officers.

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