Gujarat court convicts former BJP MP Dinu Solanki for RTI activist Amit Jethwa murder

BJP MP Dinu Solanki   | Photo Credit: PTI

A Special CBI court in Gujarat on Saturday found former MP Dinu Solanki of the BJP and six others guilty of murdering a Right to Information (RTI) activist Amit Jethwa in 2010.

In July 2010, Jethwa was killed outside the Gujarat High Court as he was fighting against illegal mining in and around Gir forest, the abode of Asiatic lions in Gujarat, where Solanki and his extended family have interests in limestone mining. Jethwa had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the High Court challenging the illegal mining in Gir.

“The court today has held seven people including the mining mafia and former BJP parliamentarian Dinu Solanki guilty in the murder of RTI activist Amit Jethwa,” said noted lawyer Anand Yagnik, who fought the case on behalf of Bhikhabhai Jethwa, father of the murdered activist.

Special CBI judge K.M. Dave will pronounce the quantum of sentence on July 11. The case was prosecuted by the CBI after the Gujarat High Court intervened and ordered the Central agency to probe it in the wake of the Gujarat police having given a clean chit to the then parliamentarian Solanki.

Solanki was subsequently arrested in 2013 from Delhi and later named as the main conspirator by the CBI in its charge sheet.

Besides Solanki, his nephew Shiva and five others, including the shooter Shailash Pandya, were pronounced guilty on charges of murder and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

In May 2016, the court had framed charges against Solanki and others after the CBI had charged them.

During the course of the trial, several witnesses turned hostile, prompting Mr. Bhikhabhai Jethwa to move the High Court seeking fresh trial on the ground that 105 out of 195 witnesses had turned hostile in the case. Mr. Yagnik had submitted in the High Court that the witnesses had turned hostile due to pressure exerted on them by Solanki and others.

The High Court first stayed the trial and later ordered a fresh trial in an unprecedented order. The court also directed that special judge Dinesh L. Pate, who was conducting the trial at the time, be replaced.

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Printable version | Sep 16, 2021 9:20:28 AM |

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