Title: The Counterfeiter Abdul Kareem Telgi and The Stamp Scam
Author: Bhaswar Mukherjee
Literary Agent: The Book Bakers
Genre: True Crime
Price: Rs 284
Link For Purchase: The Counterfeiter Abdul Kareem Telgi and The Stamp Scam
The first issue an author is faced with when he narrates a true crime story is how to strike a balance between stating the facts accurately, and at the same time maintaining enough spark in the tale to keep the reader engaged and glued to the pages. By and large, Bhaswar Mukherjee has managed to do this quite well. He has done some extremely detailed and meticulous research before writing this book. He has examined the reports from various newspapers like the Hindustan Times and Indian Express in addition to magazines like frontline and India Today. The author also provides us with detailed references for all the facts he mentions in the book. He cross-references each charge made against the defendants with FIR numbers and CR numbers and several such relevant details. He has also given us a very good idea about how the police generally deal with a crime of this nature.
It is extremely important to be accurate about facts when you write about a white-collar crime especially a crime as famous as this one. This means there is no other go but to delve deep into every document that one can lay their hands on and provide it as a reference. This is so because one inaccurate statement could mean the author lays himself wide open to a lawsuit. Bhaswar uses simple language to write the book. He outlines how Telgi manages to run a multi-crore scam by greasing the palms of policemen, politicians, and other people in high places. The connivance of top-ranking policemen (some as high in rank as assistant commissioners, joint commissioners, etc) is traced very accurately.
I am finding myself at a loss to point out anything negative about this book. But I just wonder if it would have been possible to add a bit more human touch to this book. This sounds like nit-picking but perhaps slightly more about the character of the people involved which might allow the book to be read continuously. What I am saying might sound slightly ridiculous and I do wonder if it would be possible to do this at all. Of course, the author does tell us a lot about Telgi and his early life and traces his journey towards crime. He gives us a character sketch of Telgi as a man who tries to work in several places but is too lazy to eke out a steady living and this makes him resort to crime as the easy way out. While describing the court proceedings against Telgi, the author tells us about how Telgi stands with folded hands and begs for mercy. A bit more of this kind of human-interest stuff about the other people involved could have perhaps made the book a shade more interesting.
A Big Yay! This is a wonderful book on a famous white-collar crime. If you are interested in understanding it and all the features generally associated with such scams this book is for you.
I am going with 4.5/5 for Bhaswar Mukherjee’s ‘The Counterfeiter Abdul Kareem Telgi and The Stamp Scam’. I have cut off half a point for the reasons mentioned above.