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Home > News > Report

Maharashtra govt clueless about losses caused by stamps scam

Vijay Singh in Mumbai | November 15, 2003 21:33 IST
Last Updated: November 16, 2003 03:42 IST


The Maharashtra government is aware that the fake stamp paper racket has cost it several crores of rupees in revenue. It is also aware that people are waiting to know the fate of those official transactions carried out inadvertently using fake stamps or stamp paper. These include purchase of propertyand shares, filing of affidavits in courts, bank transactions... the list is long.

Butthe government does not seem to be in a hurry to find out the extent of the loss to the exchequer or clear doubts the people have about the entire episode.

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Till some people approached the courts, the political leadership did not even seem inclined to inform the public about the racket, but preferred to deal with it quietly.

The reasons for this lethargy are not known, but court cases in this connection have come in handy for ministers and officials to put off pesky mediapersons.

Maharashtra Revenue Minister Shivaji Patil Nilangekar admitted that 'the loss to the exchequer is yet to be calculated'.

"The state government will seek legal opinion on how to deal with agreements signed on fake stamp paper," Nilangekar said. "We are awaiting the court's decision. After that we will decide."

But no one in government is revealing which court case or order stops it from assessing the loss to the exchequer or considering ways to recover the amount.

Consumer organisations are clear that the government is to blame for the mess. Varsha Raut, organising secretary of the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, said, "What happened is the government's fault. We will oppose any action to penalise the consumer."

It's almost a year since the scam was exposed, but the government is yet to find solutions to existing problems even as new ones are cropping up with each passing day.

Some of them:

  1. Will it go about verifying the authenticity of stamp papers used since fake ones entered the market?
  2. What will it do if an agreement was validated using fake stamp paper?
  3. What will it do in case of agreements involving other states?
  4. How will it recover the revenue lost?
  5. How much expense will the government incur on checking the validity of stamp papers already used?

In early 2003, the governmenthad tried to contain the problem by passing an ordinance to amend the Bombay Stamps Act 1958. It had stayed the sale and use of adhesive stamps of value greater than Rs 100. Existing stocks of stamps and stamp paper were validated by authorised officers. Only authorised agents are now allowed to sell the stamps, and even this is being monitored closely. There are suggestions to allow only post offices to sell stamps and stamp paper.

The use of franking machines has gone up since the scam was exposed. But the ordinance (to amend the Bombay Stamps Act 1958) is valid for only one year. Why it has not been made into a law till now, only the government can tell, but is not telling.



More reports from Maharashtra
Read about: Telgi case | Mumbai blasts


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Number of User Comments: 1




Sub: clueless ?? Oh, come on ! dont be so kidding !!!!

Everybody who is somebody in each and every infected state who have washed their hands in the currents of the telgi-ganga waters knows everything about ...


Posted by chanakya




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