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Name Vilasrao as accused in stamp scam

An accused in the multi-crore stamp paper scam case has asked a special CBI court to name former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh as an
accused in three cases related to the scam.

The accused, Ram Ratan Soni, who moved the plea on Saturday, has been called "guru'' by stamp scam kingpin, Abdul Karim Telgi, as it was Soni who taught Telgi the art of making fake stamps. Special judge C K Bhedi has sought a reply on Soni's plea from prosecution lawyer, Pradeep Gharat, on July 23.

Deshmukh, who was the state revenue minister in 1994, had made an endorsement on Telgi's application for stamp vending licence in March 1994, after which the then superintendent of stamps, Radheshyam Mopalwar, cleared his papers. The licence papers were cleared when several applications were pending for more than three years.

In 1992, Telgi had been arrested for a passport forgery offence. "Telgi had already spent time in jail on forgery charges. Is it not the responsibility of the minister to check the credentials of a person before the endorsement is made?'' said Soni's lawyer I A Bagaria.

Mopalwar was made an accused in three cases by the same court on Friday under charges of cheating, forgery, fraud and sections of Prevention of Corruption Act. His name had come up in a statement given before court by Telgi. Mopalwar has been ordered to remain present before court on July 27.

As per Telgi's confession before a Pune magistrate in 2006, his "friend'' and politician, Anil Gote took him to Mantralaya and got an endorsement from Deshmukh's office. Gote is an accused in the special MCOCA case at Pune.

Source: TOI


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