Protesting against the extension of their judicial custody, prime accused in the multi-crore fake stamp case Abdul Karim Telgi and over 50 other accused on Saturday refused to appear before the court via video-conferencing from the Yerawada Central Jail, jail sources said.
The accused refused to appear before the court, questioning the extension of their judicial custody during the last hearing by a judge who did not have the power to conduct cases registered under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), sources said.
The 50-odd accused, who have sent an application to the Bombay High Court on the issue, also warned that they would not attend the court unless their trial was conducted by a judge having MCOCA powers.
The fake stamp case was being heard by the Special Court having powers to conduct cases filed under the MCOCA. However, ever since the transfer of Special Judge BM Sardespande a couple of months back, the judicial custody of 61 of the 67 accused -- against whom the chargesheet was filed by the CBI last year -- had been extended by an additional sessions judge who presided over the court.
Of the 67 accused, four, including former Mumbai police Commissioner RS Sharma and ex-Mumbai crime branch DCP Pradeep Sawant, are on bail while one accused was absconding and another had died in Yerawada Jail in February last.
In the day, Telgi's wife Shahida, also an accused in the case, "was not well" and hence was not produced before the court, sources said.
Additional Sessions Judge Chitra K Bhedi, before whom the matter was listed, extended the judicial custody of all the 61 accused till July 24.
Meanwhile, Milind Pawar, lawyer of Telgi, filed a bail application in connection with a fake stamp case registered against Telgi at Chattursrungi police station here in 2002.
The lawyer said the police, which filed a supplementary charge sheet in the case in May, 2005, three years after registering the case, had not given a copy of the same to his client and hence he has filed the bail application under section 167/2 of the CrPC for non-compliance by the prosecution.
The court has asked the prosecution to give its say in the matter, he said.
Pawar also brought to the notice of the court that his client Shahida (Telgi's wife) was not being provided proper treatment and nutritious food by the Yerawada jail authorities despite a court order to this effect.
The court issued a notice to the jail authorities seeking explanation in the matter before July seven.
The court also allowed the application of former legislator Anil Gote to be taken in a vehicle instead of train to Mumbai for a day-to-day hearing on his bail application by the Bombay High Court. The court also allowed another of his application filed by Pawar seeking permission to have food prepared from his home.