ANDHRA PRADESH

The chequered career of Telgi

HYDERABAD Sept. 26. From an ordinary room boy of a guesthouse to a multimillionaire, wielding influence in nine States, it is a rag to riches story of Abdul Karim Telgi, the mastermind behind the multi-crore stamp paper scam.

Narrating the story in the Assembly, the Home Minister, T. Devender Goud, said Telgi, took advantage of certain weaknesses in the system and susceptibility of some people in power. "Such people pose a challenge to the system." From a room boy he set up a stamp vending shop on a footpath and cashing in on the perpetual shortage and demand for stamp papers, hit upon the idea of making fake ones.

He did this with perfection and went on to acquire a printing press on a par with the one at Security Press at Nasik, the Minister recalled. At one time, he became so influential that he could decide on who should get promotions in the Security Press. Having perfected the art of faking the stamp papers, he established as many as 72 stamp vending centres across nine States and virtually built an empire owning properties worth crores within a decade's time.

Apart from developing contacts with politicians of all hues, he used novel methods to cover up his operations. He was liberal in giving charity and donated munificently for building temples, mosques and churches.

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