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Pawar’s name on Telgi lips

Mumbai, Sept. 6: The stamp paper scam that has scalped several politicians and police officers today sucked in Sharad Pawar after fresh revelations emerged that jailed kingpin Abdul Karim Telgi named the Maharashtra leader as one of those he knew closely.

Recordings of the narco-analysis done on Telgi in December 2003 at Bangalore’s Victoria Hospital were run on television today.

Speaking in a semi-conscious state, Telgi had named the Union minister after a team of doctors asked pointed questions about which politicians in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka helped him.

Pawar said the allegation was “frivolous” and denied any “direct or indirect” link with Telgi. “I don’t know who is this buffoon,” he said in Delhi and added that the CBI, which probed the multi-crore-rupee scam, had not felt it necessary to summon him.

Asked why Telgi had named him and Chhagan Bhujbal, Pawar’s associate and a former deputy chief minister, the agriculture minister said it could be because Bhujbal had ordered his arrest.

“Since I am the leader of the party, it is possible that he had taken my name. We have nothing to do with such third-rate people.” But he added that he was open to any investigation by the CBI “if necessary”.

Bhujbal, who resigned as deputy chief minister following allegations of links with Telgi, dismissed the revelations as “nothing new”.

The Opposition BJP called for a “fresh investigation”. “If the tape is official, it is a serious matter,” said national spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.

Senior officials of the Maharashtra special investigative team, who ordered the narco-analysis, said though Telgi had named Pawar, they did not find any evidence of the minister’s involvement.

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