July 24, 2009 2:16:51 am
The trial of the 19 accused in Telgi case commenced on Thursday at the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court here with a shocking disclosure by Nitin Kareer,personal secretary to the Chief Minister,about the functioning of the special task force (STF) formed for investigating the multi-crore-stamp paper scam in 2002.
Kareer was the inspector general of stamps and registration (IGR) when the Telgi scam surfaced in 2002. On Thursday,he appeared before special judge P R Bora at the MCOCA court as a witness in the Telgi case,registered at Bund Garden police station.
“The STF was formed for conducting a detailed investigation into the stamp paper scam. However,STF officers did not conduct a meeting even two months after its formation,” Kareer told the court. IPS officer and then Pune police commissioner R S Sharma was appointed chairman of the STF probing stamp paper scam masterminded by Abdul Karim Telgi. “It was found that Sharma was not keen to call meetings of the STF. I had requested the then additional chief secretary of the home department to remove him from the post and appoint a new STF chairman,” Kareer said.
Kareer came to the court at 11 am,accompanied by divisional commissioner Dilip Band. Special public prosecutors Raja Thakare and Avdhoot Chimalkar chief-examined Kareer. Defence counsel Vidyadhar Koshe cross-examined him. “When it was known that the stamp paper scam was of a serious nature,he had sent a letter to the government on June 20,2002. A meeting comprising the then chief minister,deputy chief ministers and other top officials was called on July 27,2002 for taking important decisions on the issue,” Kareer told the court.
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“It was decided to ban the sale of adhesive stamps costing Rs 100 and above. The decision to form STF was also taken,” he said. It may be recalled that Sharma was later arrested by the special investigative team. The special court had,however,discharged him in this case in June 2007.
Meanwhile,18 out of the 19 suspects in the Telgi case,including Former joint commissioner (crime) of Mumbai police Shridhar Vagal and ex-MLA Anil Gote were present in the court. The only suspect who was absent was Mohammed Yasin Mohammed Saeed. It is learnt that Saeed was taken to Mumbai for court proceedings. Three more witnesses,including senior IAS officer and the then superintendent of stamp office Radheshyam Mopalwar,government auditor Girish Chintaman Natu and mobile shop owner Kiran Hariram Thakkar,who provided a cellphone and SIM card to Tegi,will appeal before the special court.
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