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`STAMPIT has proof of Baig's phone calls to Telgi'

By B.S. Ramesh

BANGALORE, APRIL 21. Even as the former Minister and Congress leader, Roshan Baig, maintains that he has no links with Abdul Karim Lala, alias Abdul Telgi, prime accused in the multi-crore fake stamp paper racket, investigators have gathered evidence of "telephone calls made by Mr. Roshan Baig to Telgi."

Sources told The Hindu on Wednesday that the Stamp Paper Investigation Team (STAMPIT) had collected information about telephone calls made from Mr. Roshan Baig's house in Bangalore to Telgi's house in Mumbai.

Several calls were made in 1999 when Mr. Roshan Baig was Minister of State for Home. Though investigation had established the telephone numbers from which the calls were made or received, it was yet to be established whether Mr. Roshan Baig made them, the sources said.

It was for this reason Mr. Baig was interrogated by STAMPIT. The former Minister was also questioned if he knew his brother, Rehan Baig's involvement in the racket. Rehan Baig and Mr. Roshan Baig had denied knowing anything about each other's involvement in the racket.

Apart from these calls, Telgi was believed to have made and received calls from the former Telugu Desam Party legislator, Krishna Yadav.

The sources said Mr. Yadav had allegedly been demanding Rs. 2 crore from Telgi as "hush money". When Mr. Yadav began demanding money, Telgi taped one such conversation at his house in Mumbai.

The taped conversation and Mr. Roshan Baig's telephone numbers were recovered when the Pune Special Intelligence Team (SIT) searched Telgi's house in Mumbai.

The sources said the tapes were now with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which had taken over 44 cases related to the racket. The CBI was likely to investigate the contents of the tapes.

The sources said the CBI would take over the cases by month end after which STAMPIT was likely to be disbanded.

On the five cases that the CBI had not taken over, the sources said the Government wanted them to be investigated by the jurisdictional police.

However, the first option would be to request the CBI to take over the five cases also, they added.

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