The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Police thumb print in stamp paper scam

Mumbai, Oct. 21: Abdul Karim Telgi, the alleged mastermind behind the Rs 2,200-crore stamp paper scam, seems to have a lot of well-wishers in Mumbai — most of them policemen deputed to put the scamster in the dock.

Inquiries by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), constituted to dig up the dirt surrounding the case, is inching towards a shocking denouement for Mumbai police, whose credibility is at an all-time low.

“What can be more shameful than this,” a source in the Crime Branch said.

“What do you expect the people to think of us if our names keep popping up in numerous scams'’’ He confirmed that some very senior officers would be in “some very serious trouble” by the time the report is submitted on November 12.

Bombay High Court has asked the SIT to submit its report on that day as Mumbai police chief R.S. Sharma retires on November 30.

Sharma’s name has consistently cropped up in connection with the case since it broke two years ago. He was then the Pune police commissioner.

The SIT has questioned senior officers like DCP (detection) Pradeep Sawant and ACP Ramakant Paudwal on their role and that of their juniors in the case. Four officers were arrested last Saturday.

Altogether 29 officers have been charged with involvement in the case. The SIT says there will be many more by the time it submits it report.

The filth that is tumbling out is disconcerting. The SIT says it has records of Telgi asking a senior police officer of the Sahar airport crime branch to release a huge consignment of fake stamps.

Senior inspector Vashist Andale, who is in custody, could have more incriminating evidence against policemen and their “closeness” with the criminal whose fake stamp empire stretches across seven states.

The rot, SIT sources said, had filtered from top to bottom. Those arrested, and now booked under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, include an assistant commissioner of police.

Sawant and Sharma were indicted by the (DIG) S.K. Jaiswal committee earlier for favouring Telgi.

“Sharma let the situation drift to the detriment of the case and (his) failure to insist upon application of the Maharashtra Organised Crime Act was a strategic error. There is no logical reason to explain this act of error,” Jaiswal had said in his report.

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