A Tribune Exclusive
New Delhi, September 6
In his latest deposition (copy available with The Tribune) Telgi, who is suffering from AIDS, has expressed his desire to make a full video confession with specific reference to his political “facilitators”.
Inexplicably, this offer, which should have been greeted with enthusiasim, has met with a luke-warm response.
While, the NDA government was scared of making the huge quantum of the scam public since it feared it could puncture the “India Shining’’ campaign and affect its electoral chances, the UPA government seems to be following a similar path.
Investigators of the disbanded Special Investigative Team (SIT), which had made tremendous headway in investigations earlier, say that Telgi, the mastermind, and his political network which allegedly included former Cabinet and some serving Ministers are the key to the scam.
“Telgi could not have pulled it off alone. He had active political backing. If he now wants to make a confession the CBI should jump at the opportunity, because if the political scalps are not nailed in five years there will be a repeat Telgi scam’’ says a former member of SIT.
Telgi in his deposition has said: “I face an immense threat from my former political friends. They helped me in printing the fake stamp paper and now they want to kill me as I am the only one who can expose them. Doctors have testified that I am suffering from advanced HIV and could die any moment. I want to meet my maker with a clean conscience and want to give evidence.’’
So far this offer has met with a tepid response. Investigators also reveal that when politicians such as Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Chagan Bhujbal were interrogated earlier for their documented links with Telgi it was what investigators describe as “pro-forma’’ questioning.
A copy of Bhujbal’s interrogation is available with The Tribune and it reveals that he was asked questions such as “Aap public life mein hai. Kya aap kabhi bhi Abdul Telgi is miley’’ (You are in public life. Did you ever meet Telgi?) instead, of hard and pointed questions.
Bhujbal parried all questions with a standard line “Mein intney loge sey milta hoon. Muje kuch bhi yaad nahi’’(I meet so many people, I don’t remember anything).
This was considered an adequate response by the CBI. Other politicians and officials, including former Mumbai Police Commissioner, R.S. Sharma, fobbed off the CBI in a similar fashion since they seemed to be suffering from collective amnesia when it came to their links with Telgi.
In the case of a Karnataka minister, who Telgi implicated by saying that he had paid him Rs 4 crore during his daughter’s marriage, the CBI did not even check for corrobatory evidence during the time period mentioned. Telgi says he had an “equal number of friends in both the BJP and the Congress’’.
The correspondent, who is an anchor with SAB TV, regularly writes for The Tribune.