Ever since Hiranandani’s Scam 2003: The Telgi Story dropped on Sony Liv in September, Abdul Karim Telgi has emerged as a popular name. Weaving through a life of poverty and battling against the clutches of harsh circumstances, Telgi accumulated millions in revenue. However, he stacked counterfeits, betrayals and bribery to reach to the top of the mountain. Abdul identified himself as an entrepreneur, who eventually cared only about the pile of cash he amassed. While some resonate with his rags-to-riches story, there is no denying the fact that Abdul robbed India of nearly 20,000 crore (INR) by forgery.
Telgi pulled the strings to multiple astonishing ordeals but is he connected to the Indian bandit, Koose Munisamy Veerappan, renowned locally as Robin Hood? Did Abdul Karim Telgi give money to Veerappan? And if he did, what is the reason behind their corporation? Here is the answer to all of these questions!
Did Abdul Karim Telgi Give Money to Veerappan?
Abdul, born to an Indian Railways employee, lost his father early on in his life. He was left to fend for himself and his mother, Shariefabee Laadsaab Telgi. After completing his degree, Abdul moved to the Gulf in Saudi Arabia but returned back to India seven years later to indulge in stamp paper counterfeiting. He employed nearly three hundred people to manage his illegal ring of forgery and snaked his way into the upper tier with his smooth talking and bribery.
Meanwhile, Veerappan, a burglar built his empire of sandalwood smuggling and kidnapping. He abducted more than two hundred people out of which one was Singanalluru Puttaswamaiah “Dr. Rajkumar” Muthuraj, a Kannada actor. He won India’s one of the most prestigious accolades, Padma Bhushan, in 1983 and the NTR National Award in 2002, just a while before his kidnapping. The demi-god Rajkumar, along with his wife, Parvathamma, visited his hometown Gajanur which lies on the fringes of the MM Hills forests–Veerappan’s playground.
Veerappan abducted Rajkumar, along with his son-in-law Govindraj, relatives Nagesh and Nagppa, in July 2000. Sangram Singh, the former assistant commissioner of police, linked Telgi’s stamp paper scandal to this hijack. According to Singh, Telgi’s funds were used as leverage to lure Veerappan into releasing Rajkumar. He indirectly paid the ransom through the then chief minister, S.M. Krishna’s son-in-law, Siddhartha. Telgi was spotted with Siddhartha, at Krishna’s residence several times, sporting a gold chain and a brazen attitude.
Telgi’s Link to Rajkumar’s Kidnapping
Singh, who was also caught in the loop of suspension, following Telgi’s arrest, was the first person to link Rajkumar’s kidnapping with Abdul. According to Sangram, he was framed in the counterfeit case. In September 2000, a couple of weeks after the abduction, he was assigned the case of Rajkumar’s kidnapping. He mentioned that, “In the third week of September 2000, I was directed by Jaiprakash (inspector-general of police, intelligence) to undertake a clandestine assignment, which involved transporting by road Rs 10 crore to Chennai in the company of Rajkumar’s three sons and delivering it to the secretary of Tamil celluloid superstar Rajnikanth.”
Singh affirmed that he spotted a “man in a white safari suit”, and connected the dots. Siddhartha confirmed his hypothesis, stating that the man Singh came across was “Lala, a big businessman from Mumbai.” After he accomplished his task and delivered the money from Siddhartha’s residence to Rajnikanth’s, he began pursuing Abdul’s counterfeit case. Though he tried to find a direct connection between Telgi and Veerappan, he was unable to achieve the phoney.
“In August 2002, as ACP, Ulsoor subdivision, I went to the StampIT office for deposing before the special team’s chief. I was told to stick to the Telgi case and not deviate to the Veerappan issue. They ignored my request to reveal that Telgi’s funds were used to pay the ransom to Veerappan,” Singh concluded his statement with a sigh. Even though Telgi didn’t give money to Veerappan directly, the chances of his funds being used as bait are certainly high.
Rajkumar and Veerappan’s History: A Shocking Tale
Veerappan was a forest brigand, who confined himself to the premise of MM Hills Forests. He rarely wandered anywhere else and limited his interaction with people outside his tribe. However, as K.N. Senthamaraikannan, the intelligence and coordination operation chief, mentioned, Veerappan collaborated with the Tamil National Retrieval Troops. “They planted ideas in Veerappan’s mind, like if he kidnaps someone important, he would get more money and if he attacks police stations, he would get weapons,” Senthamaraikannan mentioned in an interview.
He, along with hundreds of other officers and politicians, tried to negotiate with Veerappan but the bandit didn’t bulge. Eventually, the officials contacted R. Gopal, the editor of a Tamil journal, Nakkeeran, who was familiar with Veerappan, to negotiate with Robin Hood. Their efforts paid off hundred days later, when Rajkumar, then 72, was released unscathed. It is reported that Veerappan only bulged after the ransom of twenty crore INR was compensated to him.
The authorities didn’t slow down their investigation; instead fueled it with the criticism and insult they had to face due to the actor’s abduction. “With Rajkumar’s kidnapping, it gave us an insight into Veerapan’s mindset. He exposed himself as becoming greedy for money. Earlier, he had a way of life. From being so close to nature, his behaviour changed into something artificial and he became more like a local criminal,” Senthamaraikannan noticed. He then utilised these observations to formulate a fool-proof plan against Veerappan.
How Rajkumar’s Kidnapping Resulted in Veerappan’s Downfall?
Even after crippling the entire Tamilnadu state, Veerappan didn’t slow down. He expanded his network further, having developed an extremist mindset and went on to broaden his criminal empire. In August 2002, two years after Rajkumar’s kidnapping, the bandit clutched Karnataka’s former minister, H. Nagappa, in his grasp. The Joint Special Task Forces of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu didn’t follow a similar approach as that of Senthamaraikannan and his team. Instead, they staged an ambush enraging Veerappan. As a consequence, the terrorist slaughtered Nagappa, marking another defeat of the judiciary.
An uproar in the Karnataka district ensued after Nagappa’s demise, with the police officers clenching their fists in aggression. Senthamaraikannan was brought into the loop and the investigation was carried out for several months. He staged an undercover police officer to lure Veerappan out of the forest under the guise of medical treatment. Nearly four years later Rajkumar, who was nearly invincible, was hunted by Senthamaraikannan and his team. Multiple officers were also killed in the ordeal along with Veerappan, who was buried at Moolakkadu.
Abdul Karim Telgi’s Grandiloquent Fall
Rajkumar’s abduction didn’t only fuel Veerappan’s downfall; it also became a catalyst to Telgi’s destruction though indirectly. After Abdul came across Sangram’s scrutiny, he unknowingly began attracting attention towards himself. Several ministers and authorities were also kept under tight leash but it was Telgi’s reckless scandal that threw him under the bus.
In 2001, he was found spending over 90 lakhs (INR), spontaneously in a bar in the Mumbai city of Maharashtra. The ordeal rendered the entire country flabbergasted, even the dancer, Tarannum Khan, who was reportedly Telgi’s love interest at that time. The scandal evoked an investigation on Telgi, who was arrested for fake stamp paper counterfeiting. His detention spiralled several authorities into turmoil. Out of trepidation, they injected Telgi with the HIV virus, as per the forger himself.
A few years later, Abdul took the entire blame for the conspiracy. He was crushed by the circumstances; his mother passed away and his wife threatened to part ways with him simultaneously. He was sentenced to 43 years of rigorous imprisonment but passed away due to meningitis on October 23, 2017.
Did Abdul Karim Telgi Give Money to Veerappan?–FAQs
Born on 29 July 1961, Telgi was a commerce graduate who resorted to forfeiting. He practiced multiple forms of counterfeiting and stole over 20, 000 crore from the country.
Koose Munisamy Veerappan, born on 188 January 1952, was an Indian bandit. He indulged in several heinous crimes and was renowned for kidnapping and sandalwood smuggling.
No, Telgi didn’t give money to Veerappan directly. However, it is speculated that he provided the funds to get Rajkumar released from Veerappan’s clutches.
Telgi is no longer alive. He passed away due to meningitis after serving thirteen consecutive years in prison.
No, Veerappan has expired on 19 October 2004 due to ballistic trauma.
You can stream, Scam 2003: The Telgi Story on Sony Liv.