The recent SonyLIV series ‘Scam 2003: The Telgi Story’ has refocused attention on the sensational fake stamp paper scam of the 1990s orchestrated by Abdul Karim Telgi. As the show traces Telgi’s journey from modest beginnings to crorepati conman before his empire came crashing down, many viewers have one question in mind – where is Telgi now in 2023? Is the master forger still alive?
Telgi’s nationwide counterfeit operations resulted in losses of over Rs 30,000 crores to the exchequer and shook the foundations of the country’s bureaucracy and financial institutions. Let’s examine what happened to the man at the center of this intricate web of fraud and deception that gave new meaning to the idea of fake news.
What Punishment Did Telgi Receive for the Stamp Scam?
At the peak of his power in the early 2000s, Abdul Karim Telgi maintained a larger-than-life image as he expanded his sham empire across multiple states. However, after a nationwide raid finally exposed the scam in 2000, Telgi was arrested in 2001.
In June 2006, a Pune court convicted Telgi sentencing him to 30 years of rigorous imprisonment and imposing a fine of Rs 202 crores for his central role in the counterfeit stamp racket.
In July 2007, Telgi received an additional 13 years prison term from a Mumbai court in connection with a related fake stamp paper case. With the convictions, Telgi’s flamboyant lifestyle came to an abrupt end.
Did Telgi Receive Any Relief in His Punishment Before Death?
Telgi spent over a decade behind bars serving his sentence from 2006 onwards. In 2013, due to deteriorating health, he was transferred from Pune’s Yerwada Jail to Bengaluru Central Jail for treatment.
In 2014, the Supreme Court rejected Telgi’s plea requesting his sentence be considered as served given the time spent in jail during trial and investigation.
In 2016, Telgi was convicted in yet another fake stamp paper case from Goa and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. However, any relief remained elusive right until his death.
Where is Abdul Karim Telgi Now? Is he Alive?
Abdul Karim Telgi continued battling multiple health conditions during his prison stint. On October 23, 2017, he passed away at the age of 56 at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute where he was undergoing treatment.
According to hospital authorities, Telgi succumbed to multiple organ failure triggered by severe meningitis. He was already suffering from diabetes, hypertension and renal failure among other ailments.
Telgi’s death brought an inglorious end to the multi-layered career of a man who had become the face of systemic corruption in India at the turn of the millennium through his counterfeit wizardry.
What Was The Reaction in the Aftermath of Telgi’s Death?
Perhaps the most telling reaction to Telgi’s death came from an unexpected quarter – his own daughter Sana Telgi.
Despite her father’s notoriety, Sana remarked that she lost the roof over her head with his death. She rued being orphaned and homeless after having lived comfortably earlier.
Sana’s statement was a poignant reminder that despite the far-reaching impact of Telgi’s misdeeds, for his family he was still a provider whose death triggered sudden hardship and uncertainty.
Were There Any Major Developments in The Scam Case After Telgi’s Demise?
In an unexpected development in 2018, more than a decade after the scam surfaced, a Maharashtra court acquitted Abdul Karim Telgi in the absence of sufficient evidence against him in one of the cases.
The judge noted that the prosecution failed to prove Telgi guilty beyond reasonable doubt, but said the acquittal would not erase the court’s observations about his ‘dubious’ role made during the trial.
For investigators and victims who suffered losses, Telgi’s acquittal remained an unsatisfactory closure highlighting the complexity of bringing down kingpins like Telgi with conclusive evidence.
Does Telgi’s Scam Legacy Continue to Impact India’s Fight Against Corruption?
While Telgi’s phenomenal counterfeiting operations may be history now, the scam brought to light deep flaws and vulnerabilities in India’s legal, administrative and financial systems.
Over two decades later, systemic corruption and frauds like money laundering through shell companies remain a continuing menace highlighting the need for greater vigilance.
Telgi’s unimaginable scale of deception to print and distribute fake stamp papers running into hundreds of crores remains a cautionary example of how a determined scamster can exploit loopholes at will when corruption becomes pervasive.
In summary, Abdul Karim Telgi died in 2017 while serving his long prison sentence for the 1990s fake stamp paper scam. But the uncovering of his vast corrupt empire continues to provide salient lessons in India’s ongoing fight against crores worth of scams and frauds plaguing the system.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Where is Telgi now in 2023?
Abdul Karim Telgi passed away in October 2017 at the age of 56 while serving his prison sentence for the fake stamp paper scam.
2. What was Abdul Karim Telgi’s cause of death?
Telgi died due to multiple organ failure triggered by severe meningitis and other health conditions like diabetes and hypertension.
3. How long was Telgi sentenced to prison for the stamp scam?
Telgi was given 30 years prison in 2006, plus an additional 13 years term in 2007 for his central role in the multi-crore stamp paper counterfeiting racket.
4. Did Telgi get any relief in his jail term before passing away?
No, his requests for relief citing time served during trial were rejected. He remained imprisoned until his death in 2017.