Home » Abdul Karim Telgi Net Worth: Who Is Abdul Karim Telgi? How Much Money Did Telgi Make?

Abdul Karim Telgi Net Worth: Who Is Abdul Karim Telgi? How Much Money Did Telgi Make?

Sony Liv’s latest original, Scam 2003, directed by Hansal Mehta and Tushar Hiranandani, dives deep into the life of Abdul Karim Telgi—the man behind India’s biggest financial scam. While the show has garnered attention and acclaim for its realistic storytelling, the real-life story of Telgi remains largely unexplored for many. This article delves into the life of Abdul Karim Telgi, whose counterfeit stamp paper scam was worth a staggering Rs. 30,000 crore.

Who is Abdul Karim Telgi

Abdul Karim Telgi’s name is synonymous with one of the largest stamp paper scams India has ever seen. He was a master counterfeiter whose operations had a deep impact on the country’s financial system. In his initial days, Telgi specialized in fabricating fake documents for workers facing immigration issues. His work led to the coining of the term “pushing,” which meant ensuring smooth passage for workers at airports, regardless of any red flags on their passports.

How Abdul Karim Telgi Became the Biggest Scammer of India

Abdul Karim Telgi initially set up a firm to send workers to Saudi Arabia. Later, he founded Arabian Metro Travels at New Marine Lines, where he fabricated documents to ease airport formalities. His counterfeit stamp paper scam was valued at a mind-boggling Rs. 30,000 crore. Telgi had an extensive network of 300 assistants and even had some government employees and police personnel in his payroll. Shockingly, he admitted to having bribed politicians and police officials from Karnataka and Maharashtra to the tune of Rs. 20 billion. His arrest in 2001 led to numerous legal actions and investigations into this mammoth scam.

Abdul Karim Telgi’s Early Life

Born in 1961, Abdul Karim Telgi had humble beginnings. His father was an employee of Indian Railways. After his father passed away, Telgi sold fruits and vegetables on trains to fund his English-medium education at Sarvodaya Vidyalaya Khanapur. He later moved to Saudi Arabia and, after a stint of seven years, returned to India. It was then that he forayed into the world of counterfeiting, initially focusing on fake passports.

Abdul Karim Telgi’s Net Worth

The scale of Telgi’s operations was truly astonishing. In 2003, his net worth was estimated to be around Rs. 17,000 crore. He owned 36 properties across India valued at over Rs. 100 crore. Despite the vast empire of ill-gotten wealth, Telgi faced the repercussions of his actions. In 2017, his wife Shahida Telgi appealed to the court to seize all of her husband’s nine major properties.

Impact on India’s Financial System

The counterfeiting operation led by Telgi had catastrophic effects on India’s financial framework. Counterfeit stamp sheets were sold to banks, insurance providers, and stock brokerages, causing extensive damage and loss of trust in these institutions. The government incurred substantial financial losses, prompting immediate legal and investigative action against Telgi and his vast network.

The Scam 2003 Phenomenon

The Sony Liv show, Scam 2003, has done a commendable job in dramatizing Telgi’s life and the shocking events surrounding the scam. As the second season of the popular franchise that began with Scam 1992, this show delves into the intricate details of Telgi’s life, his scam, and its colossal impact on India’s financial system. If the show has made one thing clear, it’s that the story of Abdul Karim Telgi needed to be told to understand the depth of corruption in financial systems and to serve as a cautionary tale for future generations.


The life of Abdul Karim Telgi serves as a glaring example of how deep-rooted corruption can destabilize a nation’s financial system. While Scam 2003 has brought his story to mainstream attention, it also serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities that exist in our financial and governmental institutions. With legal actions and repercussions still resonating, the tale of Abdul Karim Telgi is a dark chapter in India’s financial history that should never be forgotten.

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Jack Reuben Fletcher

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