Saturday, Dec 20, 2003
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The investigating agency also arrested Ganga Prakash, the suspended General Manager of the ISP, in connection with the alleged "security lapses" at the currency and stamp paper printing press. The arrest was made in Hyderabad today, CBI sources said.
In a related development, Telgi's lawyer Abdul Rehman met the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, today and held a "general discussion" concerning the aspects which could have a bearing on "national interests.'' Mr. Rehman told The Hindu that during his 20-minute meeting with Mr. Advani he did not name any political leader or level any allegation. "I had a balanced discussion with the DPM and apprised him of the surcharged atmosphere in Maharashtra and Karnataka and in view of this asked for my personal security," he said.
Mr. Rehman, who met Telgi in Bangalore Central prison twice, said his client had informed him that Rehan Baig, brother of the Karnataka Minister, Roshan Baig, was a partner in his firm Sai Enterprises. Rehan Baig is now absconding.
Sources close to Mr. Advani said that his office had not received any request from the Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister, Chagan Bhujbal, whose name has also come up in the scam, seeking a probe into the aspects relating to his alleged involvement.
The CBI claimed to have seized fixed deposits worth lakhs of rupees besides Rs. 1.86 lakhs in cash from the residential and official premises of Mr. Prakash.
The investigating agency had earlier registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) following a Central directive and converted the case into a regular one later. The case also named some other ISP officials and Telgi.
Enquiries revealed that Telgi had met Mr. Prakash and had also gifted him two expensive watches. The official had sought Telgi's help in his promotion and in turn promised all help from the ISP. The works manager had allowed Telgi to visit the letter press section of the ISP while other officials were instrumental in creating an artificial scarcity of various fiscal stamps to different States by not supplying stamps though sufficient stock was available at Nashik.
In the second case, the CBI named an RPF Commandant and Telgi for alleged breach of security at the Nashik Security Press. The Government had asked the CBI last month to conduct a thorough enquiry into the ISP at Nashik and ascertain whether some of its employees were involved in the printing and distribution of fake stamps and stamp papers by Telgi.
During preliminary enquiry, it was found that Telgi had entered into a criminal conspiracy with the RPF officials during 1997 to 2000 to pilfer Government stamps and stamp papers despatched by the ISP to various State Governments and treasuries.
It was further alleged that during this period stamps and stamp papers worth about Rs. 23 crores were either pilfered or stolen. Search of the RPF guest house near the VT station in Mumbai where the Senior Commandant was staying yielded a cash Rs. 2.37 lakhs. Searches were still continuing at the ISP, Nashik, sources here said.
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