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Scam 2003 to present the story of Abdul Karim Telgi’s rise and fall, find out who was Telgi

As Hansal Mehta and SonyLiv announce that the follow-up to 1992 Scam: The Harshad Mehta Story will be Scam 2003: The Curious Case of Abdul Karim Telgi, here's a primer who was the kingpin of the fake stamp paper scam.

Written by Sana Farzeen | Mumbai |
Updated: March 4, 2021 5:12:36 pm
Abdul karim telgi, scam 2003Abdul Karim Telgi's rise and fall will be presented in the web series Scam 2003. (Photo by Arul Horizon)

After the blockbuster success of Scam 1992, Hansal Mehta is all set to return with the next season. Tentatively titled ‘Scam 2003: The Curious Case of Abdul Karim Telgi’, the series will delve into the life of Abdul Karim Telgi, who earned a fortune by printing fake stamp paper.

The series promises to be an intriguing watch as it chronicles the rise and fall of the man from Khanapur in Karnataka and how he pulled off one of India’s most ingenious scams spread across multiple states. The scam value was alleged to be around a whopping Rs. 20,000 crores. As the team of writers work on the script, the makers will soon announce the cast. The show will go on floors by the end of the year and release in 2022 on SonyLIV.

Scam 2003 will be adapted from the Hindi book ‘Reporter ki Diary’, authored by journalist Sanjay Singh, who broke the scam back in the time. Acclaimed Marathi writer Kiran Yadnyopavit has also been roped in to develop the show along with Singh. Interestingly, a web series on the same subject — Paper, starring Rohit Bose Roy, was released last year on Ullu.

Hansal Mehta, known for directing acclaimed films like Aligarh, Omerta and the National Award-winning Shahid shared that he is excited to be back with the team to helm another ‘scam’ story. In a statement, the filmmaker said, “I am delighted to be back with exploring yet another fascinating story following the immense success of Scam 1992. The new season of this franchise will focus on another riveting story that shook the country a few years ago –  the stamp paper scam.”

Hansal Mehta, later tweeted his gratitude for the welcome response he received after the new season’s announcement. He tweeted, “Grateful for the very loving response to this announcement. This is a challenging tale to tell. And even more so because it is Season 2 of such a successful show. We will work doubly hard to reciprocate this love and to make this season very exciting, authentic and engaging.”

Sameer Nair, CEO, Applause Entertainment, who will bankroll the web show, added that Scam 1992 helped them establish a solid ground for the ‘Scam’ franchise. And now the team aims at telling stories about the various scams that the country witnessed over the years. “The success of Scam 1992 endorsed our belief about the audiences’ interest in such stories. We are extremely thrilled to announce “The Telgi Story” as the next season. There is some great potential we see in this story and are absolutely delighted to partner once again with StudioNEXT, SonyLIV and Hansal Mehta in taking forward this franchise,” added Nair.

Based on the book by journalist Sucheta Dalal, Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story was one of the biggest successes last year on the digital medium. It was co-directed by Hansal and son Jai Mehta. Starring Pratik Gandhi and Shreya Dhanwanthary, the series delved into the life of stockbroker Harshad Mehta. Apart from the tight storyline, the star cast’s performance was lauded by both viewers and critics. Even it’s music became quite popular with many recreating viral videos on the title track. The show and its actors recently bagged numerous awards at various events.

Who was Abdul Karim Telgi?

Born in a small town in Karnataka, Telgi was born to government employees who worked with the Indian Railways. After the death of his father, Telgi took up odd jobs and eventually moved to Saudi Arabia.

On his return, he tried his hand at the counterfeit business and initially limited his business to making fake passports. With a shortage of stamps and stamp papers to carry out various legal paperwork, Telgi found an opportunity and focused on making fake stamp papers.

First case was filed against Telgi in 1991 and then in 1995, but never probed. His golden run came to an end in 2001 as he was arrested by the Karnataka Police.

In 2003, much to the embarrassment of the Mumbai Police, instead of taking Telgi to the Crime branch office, cops were found partying with him at his Colaba house. A SIT submitted its report in April 2003.

In 2007, Telgi was convicted in the scam and awarded 30 years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs 202 crores. He later died of multi-organ failure.

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