The Nashik sessions court in Maharashtra today acquitted late Abdul Karim Telgi and seven others in a 2004 multi-crore fake stamp paper case in absence of "solid evidence" against them.
Telgi, who was convicted in several cases in connection with the scam and sentenced to imprisonment of 30 years in total, died in Bengaluru in October last year while serving his jail term.
Charges against Telgi, believed to be the kingpin of the scam that was spread over several states, were abated after his death.
In his order, district and sessions court judge, first class, P R Deshmukh acquitted Telgi and seven others for want of evidence against them.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed a chargesheet against Telgi and others in a Nashik court in August 2004 under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The CBI had contended that the accused, including the officers and constables of the Railway Protection Force, colluded with Telgi by selling him stamp papers by opening sealed packets when they were transported to the Nashik railway yard from the city-based India Security Press, said defence advocate M Y Kale.
These stamp papers were meant to be dispatched to treasuries of various state governments.
The India Security Press (ISP) is a subsidiary of the Security Printing & Minting Corporation of India, a public undertaking of the Union government.
Located in Nashik, it is tasked with printing passports, visas, postage stamps, post cards, inland letters, envelopes, non-postal adhesives, court fees, fiscal, and Hundi stamps in the country.
The court had framed charges against the eight accused in February 2015, Mr Kale said.
The court examined 49 witnesses during the trial, he said, adding that the accused were acquitted by the judge in absence of "solid evidence".
The others accused acquitted today have been identified as RPF officials Rambhau Pawar, Brijkishore Tiwari, Vilaschandra Joshi, Dyaneshwar Barke, Pramod Dahage, Mohammed Sarvar and Vilas More.
It cannot be immediately confirmed whether these officials are still serving with the RPF or are retired from service.
The government pleader, representing CBI, didn't talk with reporters.
Telgi had printed fake stamp papers allegedly in connivance with government officials and politicians, and sold them to banks, stock brokerage firms and insurance companies.