New Delhi, March 15: The Supreme Court today directed that 48 cases in the Telgi stamp paper scam be handed over to the CBI.
After the CBI submitted a status report with details of the cases, a bench of Chief Justice V.N. Khare, Justices S.B. Sinha and S.H. Kapadia asked the states concerned to cooperate with the investigating agency.
The apex court also gave the green signal to the CBI to arrest and interrogate the main accused, Abdul Karim Telgi, who is lodged in a Karnataka jail.
Posting hearings to July, the court asked the CBI to submit further status reports within four months. The judges also made it clear that no high court in the country would entertain any petition in the matter.
Twenty-three cases from Maharashtra, 10 from Karnataka, three each from Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, two each from Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh and one each from Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala and Bengal will come under CBI probe.
The counter-affidavit of the CBI stated that Assam and Punjab did not give any response. Mizoram, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Jharkhand, Manipur, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Goa, Daman Diu and Nagar Haveli have said there is no case in their territorial jurisdiction while Orissa and Chandigarh have refused to transfer any case to the CBI.
In Tamil Nadu, one case is said to involve a politician who is likely to be fielded as a candidate of a national political party for the Lok Sabha elections.
Seizure of fake stamp papers, suspected involvement of inter-state gangs headed by Telgi and national security were the parameters to decide which of the cases would be taken up for investigation, the CBI said, explaining why it had taken over 48 cases out the 156 across the country.
Keeping in view the CBI’s acute resource constraints and the widespread field-investigations required in the cases, the apex court said states would have to provide resources, including manpower, vehicles, camp offices and office equipment.
Maharashtra’s former deputy chief minister, Chhagan Bhujbal, today welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision. “Since… L.K. Advani had been talking of a suspected ISI hand and Jaswant Singh describing it as one having national ramifications, it is but appropriate that a scam of such magnitude be handed to the… the CBI”, Bhujbal, who had been summoned by the SIT for his alleged involvement in the scam, said.