The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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More stamp shock for Mumbai cops

Mumbai, Dec. 2: A day after former Mumbai police commissioner R.S. Sharma was arrested, another top cop today joined the growing crowd of police officers in Maharashtra’s jails.

Assistant commissioner R.B. Yenam of the Police Commissionerate, posted in Navi Mumbai, was arrested for his alleged role in the Rs 39,000-crore fake stamp paper scam organised by “(Abdul Karim) Telgi’s crime syndicate’’, police department sources said.

A former no-nonsense police commissioner, aghast as also slightly tickled at the turn of events, said: “It seems to be a long line to hell.”

Yenam will be produced in court tomorrow and the chargesheets will be framed.

As an inspector at Dharavi during a stint in the Crime Branch in 1998, he had investigated one of the seven cases filed against Telgi.

Two others who assisted him, assistant inspector Dilip Kamath and inspector Dattatraya Dal, are already in jail. Kamath had allegedly sold a consignment of seized fake stamps worth Rs 86 crore. The money was never accounted for.

It was recently revealed that stamp papers worth Rs 8 crore of a consignment said to be worth Rs 12 crore — seized from a Telgi associate called Ishtaq in Hyderabad — went missing from the Dharavi Crime Branch.

The consignment was brought to Mumbai in August 2002. The two Mumbai policemen who brought it from Hyderabad have been arrested.

The former police commissioner, who has been observing the developments, said Sharma’s arrest has made it clear that several junior police officers profited from the corruption of their seniors.

“This is what happens when the top posts are auctioned for Rs 5 crore,” he said. “The police officers who have paid so much to get a profitable posting will certainly try to get back their money, and the only way they can do it is by aligning themselves with the underworld.’’

All the seven cases involving the production and sale of fake stamp papers and registered during 1995 have been reopened as Telgi is suspected to have bribed the sleuths involved.

Yenam has now joined the ranks of Sharma and joint commissioner of police (crime) Sreedhar Vagal, both of whom are in a Pune jail.

Sharma, accused of “aiding Telgi and abetting organised crime”, and Vagal have been slapped with the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, a non bailable offence which if proved in court can culminate in a life sentence.

BJP heat on state

A day after a huge cache of fake currencies was found in Maharashtra, the BJP has turned up the heat on the state, asking it to hand over the stamp-paper scam inquiry to the Centre, reports our special correspondent.

“The episode (stamp paper case) should not be treated as a minor criminal offence but a serious anti-national conspiracy hatched by anti-national forces,” the party said.

Briefing the press, BJP spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi referred to yesterday’s “expose” on a TV news channel that showed cartons of Indian and foreign currencies and other objects being recovered from houses in Nashik and Panvel, both in Maharashtra. The Indian Security Press that prints currency notes is located in Nashik.

“The earth-shaking evidence shows the seriousness of the issue,” Naqvi said.

Once the case is handed over, the Centre could transfer the inquiry to the CBI or any other appropriate investigating agency, the BJP said.

Naqvi, however, hastened to say the BJP had no problem with the Special Investigation Team the Maharashtra government set up to probe the racket.

He said the Congress governments in Karnataka and Maharashtra — two of the major states linked to the stamp paper scam — had a “negative” attitude and “treated the inquiry as though it were a small criminal offence”.

“Telgi and the offenders linked to the scam have become a source of worry for the country, its economy and the general well being of democracy,” he added.

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