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New fish swims into stamp net

Dec. 20 (PTI): Rehan Baig, the brother of Karnataka minister Roshan Baig, surrendered in Bangalore this afternoon in connection with the fake stamp paper scam.

Baig admitted doing business with scam kingpin Abdul Karim Telgi, but said he was not involved in the stamp scam and alleged that he is being targeted to ruin the career of his brother.

Baig said he and his brother, who holds the small-scale industries’ portfolio, are innocent.

“I am not a criminal, but for the last two years they are involving my name in this and, despite two years of intensive investigations, they themselves had said on November 14 that there is no evidence against me,” he said.

Officials of the special investigation team (SIT) probing the scam said a warrant had been issued for Baig’s arrest earlier this week. The investigators had also seized his passport in May on his return from Saudi Arabia.

Karnataka chief minister S.M. Krishna ruled out interference in the case. “There is not going to be any interference in the investigations either by the chief minister, by the home minister or any of the ministers concerned,” he said while inaugurating a coastal investors’ meet in Karwar.

Roshan Biag had already clarified in the Assembly that, “if Rehan Baig is found guilty he should be hanged and I am not responsible for his deeds”, Krishna pointed out. “The law of the land will take its course. Regardless of who it is, no one against whom credible evidence is provided will be spared,” he said.

In Delhi, the stamp scam claimed the first casualty of the city’s police with the arrest of inspector Puran Singh. The inspector, posted in the investigating unit of south district, was arrested by Delhi police’s crime branch on charges of “shielding” and “helping” Telgi. He was remanded in police custody for four days.

Singh did not arrest Telgi while investigating scams in 1999 and 2000, despite knowledge of his whereabouts, according to deputy commissioner of police Dinesh Bhatt. He had also helped Telgi by standing surety for his associates in court and thus facilitating their release, alleged the police official.

“We have collected enough evidence to link him to Telgi,” claimed Bhatt.

The authorities, however, came up against a defensive wall in Mumbai, with Maharashtra chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde ruling out any action against Chhagan Bhujbal till the charges levelled against the deputy are established.

“How can I act as long as the allegations are not established' I do not know whether they are true or not,” said Shinde. The need to act only after the truth is established, however, did not seem to apply in the case of former Mumbai police commissioner R.S. Sharma, whose judicial custody was extended till January 3.

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