Jailed for 30 years, Abdul Karim Telgi dies

Bengaluru, Oct 27: Abdul Karim Telgi, the kingpin of the multi-crore fake stamp paper scam that shook the country over a decade ago, died of multi-organ failure at a state-run hospital here today.

He was 56 and was battling for life for about a week.

He was on ventilator and life support system after being admitted to Victoria Hospital for meningitis, doctors said. 

"Telgi is no more. He breathed his last at 3.55 pm. He was suffering from multi-organ failure," Dr Balaji S Pai of the hospital, who attended on him, told PTI.

Telgi, who was serving 30 years rigorous imprisonment at the Central Prison here, is survived by wife, daughter and son-in-law.

His condition was critical with "multi-system failure" and he suffered a cardiac arrest in the afternoon, a statement issued by the trauma care centre of the hospital said.

Telgi's counsel had in the past alleged in the court that he was administered HIV-infected syringe while in prison, a charge police and the prison authorities had rejected outright.

After his arrest in Ajmer in November 2001 in connection with the fake stamp paper scam, Telgi was sentenced to 30 years' rigorous imprisonment by a court five years later. 

Besides, he was slapped with a whopping fine of Rs 202 crore.

The kingpin of the scam was lodged at the Parapana Agrahara central jail here for the last 16 years.

He was in news after the then DIG (Prisons) D Roopa recently alleged that Telgi was among several prisoners who received special treatment in the jail. 

She had said he was given special massages by three or four convicts allotted to him. 

Son of a former railway employee, Telgi ran his fiefdom in counterfeit stamp papers for "almost a decade till he ran out of luck in 2001 when his" network was busted, leading to his arrest.

The security and intelligence agencies had then put the size of the scam at a mind boggling Rs 20,000 crore. 

However, some other estimates ranged from Rs 3,000 crore to Rs 30,000 crore.

The scam had affected the country's financial and other markets. 

Hailing from Khanapur in Belagavi district in Karnataka, Telgi began his life as a vegetable and fruit vendor, in trains.

Later, he moved to Saudi Arabia. When he returned after seven years, he got into the counterfeit business.

After the scam was busted, the investigation agencies discovered that he ran the business like a mega industry by recruiting about 350 agents.