Fake stamp paper scam redux, by 'Chhota Telgi'

Fake stamp paper scam redux, presented by 'Chhota Telgi'

Two decades after the infamous stamp paper scam rocked Karnataka, Bengaluru police say they have unearthed a similar racket by arresting four people. 

The original scam, masterminded by Abdul Karim Telgi, who died as a convict in 2017, had resulted in the central government banning the sale of stamp papers outside banks and designated centres. Telgi and his team had created counterfeits of stamp papers and other judicial documents, and caused an artificial scarcity of authentic papers. The scam was pegged at Rs 3,000 crore. 

The latest scam was masterminded by Hussain Modi Babu, 53, who has been nicknamed ‘Chhota Telgi, police said, adding that 443 fake stamp papers worth Rs 2.7 crore have been seized. 

The scam was unearthed after SJ Park police arrested Babu and Harish, 55, a court typist, on SP Road, central Bengaluru, around 10 am on October 3. The police action came on a specific tip that the duo was selling stamp papers. Babu’s arrest led the police to two women brokers who purchased the fake stamp papers from the duo and sold them to the public. Police identified them as Shawar alias Seema, 42, and Najma Fathima, 35, both from Bapuji Nagar. 

Staggering scale

Police raided Babu’s home in Viveknagar and seized fake stamp papers with face values of Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 30, Rs 40, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 200, Rs 500, Rs 750, Rs 1,000, Rs 2,000, Rs 3,000, Rs 5,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 15,000, Rs 20,000 and Rs 25,000. Franked sheets, seals of various sub-registrar offices, a computer, printers, A4 papers with watermarks were also seized. Franking is the process of getting the papers stamped or marked to establish their authenticity. 

The fake documents were used to make general power of attorney (GPA) documents and were back-dated. This way, the gang cheated both the public and the government, which lost revenue from the sale of stamp papers. 

Babu, who had dropped of class 7, had been working as a broker in Kandaya Bhavan and the city civil court. He dealt in franking and selling fake stamp papers, and was earlier arrested by Halasuru Gate police along with Harish. They got bail and continued their business but regularly attended court hearings. The scale of the gang’s operations wasn’t known back then. 

Harish is a BA graduate and was working as a typist in the city civil court. He teamed up with Babu to sell back-dated fake stamp papers. 

Shawar dropped out of BCom studies and started working as a typist at Kandaya Bhavan. She purchased fake stamp papers, including franked sheets, from Babu and sold them to people. 

Najma, who studied until class 7, has been working as a broker in Kandaya Bhavan for the past 13 years. She also purchased fake stamp papers and franked sheets from Babu and sold them to the public.