Abdul Kareem Telgi, who was convicted in counterfeit stamp paper scam in 2003 that shook the nation, passed away in Bengaluru due to multiple organ failure.
Telgi (56) died around 3.55 pm at the Victoria Hospital, where he has admitted with meningitis a few days ago, police said.
For over a decade, Telgi ran the empire as the mastermind of the counterfeit stamp papers until 2003 when the scam spread across several states broke out and shook the nation.
The security and intelligence agencies had then estimated the size of the scam was a mind-boggling figure of up to Rs 20,000 crore.
He was educated at an English medium school, Sarvodaya Vidyalaya, after which he obtained a B.Com degree from a college in Belagavi.
Later, he moved to Saudi Arabia and returned seven years later to Mumbai where he allegedly developed links with the underworld.
He was arrested in 1991 by Mumbai police on charges of cheating but reportedly used his stay in the prison to learn the tricks of the trade from an expert forger.
Telgi allegedly bribed his way out of jail.
He acquired a stamp paper licence in 1994 and opened an office at Mint Road in Mumbai.
He was said to have befriended several officials in the revenue ministry, stamp office and Nashik Security Press where stamp papers are printed.
Telgi was also accused of having used his political clout to get the machinery at the Nashik press declared as ‘junk’ only to buy it and setting it up at his office in Mumbai. He also allegedly obtained the original dye for printing in connivance with Nashik press security officials and began printing fake stamp papers.
The investigation agencies discovered that he ran the business like a mega industry by recruiting about 350 agents, who sold the duplicate stamp papers of various denominations in bulk to banks, insurance companies, stock brokerage firms and corporates.
He ran his business allegedly in connivance with top police officers and people in power, according to investigations.
Telgi ran out of luck in 2003 when his multi-billion scam came to the fore.
He had allegedly named many influential people during the narco-analysis test.
Telgi and several associates were sentenced to 30 years rigorous imprisonment by a court in January 2006. In a report submitted by former DIG (Prisons) D Roopa recently, it is alleged that Telgi was among several prisoners who received special treatment in the jail.
The facilities included special massages given by three or four convicts allotted to him.
In his first conviction in 2006 under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act and Indian Penal Code 120 (criminal conspiracy), Telgi was sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment and for the remaining 20 years in four different cases.
(With PTI Inputs)