Telgi’s fate may have been different if he’d bought votes
The 1990s’ stamp paper scamster might have had a thriving career if he’d played his politics right
Sometime in the 1990s, word spread in Mumbai’s dance bars that a man had spent ₹80 lakh on a gorgeous dancer in a single night. The amount mentioned in the rumour had kept increasing for some hours before settling at “80 lakhs." There was no doubt though that a man known as Abdul Karim Telgi had tipped the dancer a considerable sum. The inner circles of dance bars include cops. The news evoked the curiosity of the police, who discovered a man who had built an elaborate business counterfeiting stamp paper and other forms of revenue stationery. They had stumbled upon a perennial source of income. Telgi, who had starved as a child and sold fruits as a young man, had made a fatal error in trying to impress a dancer. But at the time, even the cops did not know how big Telgi’s operation was. Actually, no one still knows the full scope of his scam. What is certain is that he stole thousands of crores from the government.