Telgi always dreamt of owning a cinema hall, where he could watch movies of his choice at his own convenience. He was clearly a Bollywood fan. The CBI and police chargesheet records show that Telgi invested a substantial amount of money earned from the stamp scam into Bollywood.

He came across Mickey Bihari one day. There are many self-proclaimed brokers like Mickey Bihari in Bollywood, who work as mediators for helping people invest black money, arrange meetings with filmmakers or make heroines available on demand. If you happen to be in or around Oshiwara in Mumbai, you will find the coffee shops swarming with groups of people passionately discussing filmmaking projects – none of these people consider their film ideas to be any less than the legendary Sholay. If you have money, they will leave no stone unturned to dazzle you with dreams of prosperity and how you can multiply your money in Bollywood.

It was thus that Mickey Bihari convinced Telgi that he could make enormous profits by investing his money in Bollywood. Telgi had accumulated splendid wealth by then. With great aplomb, he established a production company, Sanna Movies International, named after his daughter Sanna. He produced two movies as well.

One was Bechaini, which was produced in the year 2000. The movie was a big disaster at the box office, resulting in a huge loss to Telgi. Next, he invested in a second movie, Biwi Kamaal Ki, Saali Dhamaal Ki. This film also met the same fate as the first and flopped badly.

Telgi had fallen prey to Bollywood’s cheating mafia and had burnt his fingers producing movies. He also realized that film production was not his cup of tea but had been duped of tens of lakhs of rupees in the process.

Telgi then decided to try his hand at another Bollywood-related business – film distribution. He acquired the distribution rights in Maharashtra and Karnataka, for the Mahesh Manjrekar-directed movie Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hai, which featured actors Govinda and Sonali Bendre. He again faced tremendous losses. After two years, he distributed Govinda-Raveena Tandon starrer Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare and yet again, faced massive losses.

As per Pune Police, a floppy disk recovered from Telgi showed that he had invested approximately 11.5 crore rupees in the TV and film world in total, of which eleven crore was black money. Out of this, 5.5 crore had been invested only in one movie. There were also a few Hindi and Marathi serials in the list. The CBI also seized four bank accounts that Telgi used to conduct Bollywood-related business.

It was most intriguing how a scamster who had the entire system – politicians, the police and the underworld – under his spell could be scammed by the Bollywood mafia. Perhaps one of the reasons for this debacle was that Telgi was blinded by the glamour of the film industry and was driven by his greedy heart instead of his vicious mind while making these transactions. The result was many a failure.

Excerpted with permission from Telgi – A Reporter’s Diary, Sanjay Singh, translated from the Hindi by Gayatri Manchanda, HarperCollins India.

Also read:

‘Scam 2003 – The Telgi Story’ web series review