Mumbai: The Telgi stamp scam is perhaps the biggest scam ever to be detected in the country. It led to the resignation of a former deputy chief minister, a top police official and created clouds of suspicion over several others.
For the first time CNN-IBN shows conversations between the main accused Abdul Karim Telgi with his political friends – conversations, which show just how deep was his nexus with top Maharashtra politicians as well as highly placed officials.
Abdul Karim Telgi is the best-known prisoner in Pune's Yerawada Jail. The man who pulled who off a staggering Rs 30,000 crore stamp paper scam over 12 years with the help of politicians and top policemen across several states till his ran out of luck in 2001.
Telgi: Aaney do jo badey badey log hain. Jo politician hain na sabko andar aaney do. Baki sab main apaney lawyer se kahunga. (Let the big people come. Let the politicians come. I'll talk about the rest with my lawyer.)
The CD's, 60 hours of telephonic conversations of Abdul Karim Telgi recorded before Telgi's arrest in 2001, are exclusively in CNN-IBN's possession.
Following the conversation between Telgi and Anil Gote, a Samajwadi Party MLA who was arrested in 2003 in the scam:
Telgi: Kya bola gote? (What are you saying Gote.)
Anil Gote: toh woh bole ki chaar saal ho gaye bhai humney toh dekha nahin hai. Phir woh liscence CM neyich issue kiyela hai. Waisa kuch aayela hai (He said it's been four years but I have not seen that. CM has not issued the license.)
Telgi: Aarey Vilasrao Deshmukh hicch diyela hai. Aisa bolo na. (Tell them CM has given instruction.)
Anil Gote: Haan Kya maloom, sir kya sir.
Telgi: Sachich bolna bola Vilasrao Deshmukh neyich diya bolna (Tell them that Vilasrao Deshmukh has given it.)
NCP MLA Anil Gote, now in custody and Abdul Karim Telgi are talking about Vilas Rao Deshmukh issuing a stamp vendor's license. Its worth remembering that Deshmukh was then Maharashtra's revenue minister and responsible for issuing licenses to revenue stamp vendors.
Telgi further implicates the Chief Minister of Maharashtra while talking to his lawyer Rashid Kulkarni.
Telgi: Good morning Rashid bhai.
Rashid: Good morning sir boliye sir. (Good morning sir tell me.)
Telgi: Kya kar raha hai (What are you doing?)
Rashid: Bas baithe hain sir (Just sitting.)
Telgi: Aur kya baki? (What is pending?)
Rashid: Bas hukum kijiye sir (Just order me sir.)
Telgi: Kya paper mein bohut aa raha hai. (So many things coming in paper.)
Rashid: haan. (Yes.)
Telgi: Aaj bohut, aaj bohut aayela hai kya bolta hai? (So many things has come in the paper. What do you say?)
Telgi: Idhar kya Vilasrao Deshmukh ka naam le rahe hain un log? (They are taking Vilasrao Deshmukh’s name.)
Telgi: Barobar, sahi baat hai. (Ya its good.)
Telgi's confidence stems from his alleged proximity to politicians like Vilas Rao Deshmukh. In fact, Telgi claims that he saved the Congress-NCP Democratic Front government led by Deshmukh in 2002.
When the Shiv Sena-BJP combine was all set to instigate a split Deshmukh organised a mass evacuation of Congress-NCP MLAs to Mysore to prevent horse-trading with Telgi allegedly funding the entire trip.
Further disclosure reflects Telgi ordering MLA Anil Gote to remind the Congress leaders that he had paid the bills to keep Vilas Rao Deshmukh's government afloat.
Anil Gote: Kya khabar hai baaki sir. (What is the news sir?)
Telgi: Yede logon ko bolo, **** tumhare MLAs yahan aaye toh paise tere baap ne diya? (Tell those people when your MLAs visit here then who pays the money.)
Telgi: Yede logon ko bolo tumhari government gir jaati thi ****logon ko bachaya bolo tumharey MLA logon ko (Tell them I have saved your government, saved your MLAs by paying money.)
Anil Gote: Tab saarey MLAs udhar hi baithey they sir baro bar aur kya khabar bolo sir (That time all the MLAs were sitting there. Tell me what’s happening sir.)
It seems Telgi's financial clout was able to keep Vilas Rao Deshmukh's government from collapsing, even when he was in prison. No wonder he calls India a scam country.
Anil Gote: Haan paper mein bohut chal raha hai aisa ye. (Yes lot of things happening in paper.)
Telgi: Kya baat kar rahe ho. (What are you saying?)
Anil Gote: Kya maloom kya baat hai ye sab tamasha hai. Ye India bhi ek scam ka country ho gaya hai. (I don’t know what is there in the papers. These things are drama. India has become a scam country.)
Telgi: Usmein ek lala aaye toh kya pharak padata hai (If one businessman comes there then what’s the big deal.)
But Telgi is proud of his rag to riches story, even if it's a story that's gone all wrong. He had the country's top politicians eating out of his hand, and what gave him a kick was just this that everyone now knew Abdul Karim Telgi.
With Uday Dandekar in Pune and Mandar Phanse and Toral Varia in Mumbai