Ahmedabad: Former BJP MP Dinu Bogha Solanki and six others were sentenced to life term by a special CBI court in Ahmedabad on Thursday for the murder of RTI activist Amit Jethwa in 2010.
The court also fined former BJP lawmaker Rs 15 lakh. On July 6, special CBI court convicted ex-BJP MP Dinu Bogha Solanki and six others for killing RTI activist Amit Jethwa in 2010 after he tried to expose illegal mining activities in the Gir forest region.
Special CBI Judge KM Dave on Thursday pronounced the quantum of sentence in the case, whose probe was handed over to the central agency by the Gujarat High Court after the Detection of Crime Branch gave Solanki a clean chit.
The court held Solanki, who was the Junagadh MP from 2009 to 2014, guilty of murder and conspiracy along with his cousin Shiva Solanki.
The others convicted in the case were Shailesh Pandya, Bahadursinh Vadher, Panchan G Desai, Sanjay Chauhan and Udaji Thakore.
Jethwa, a lawyer, was shot dead for exposing illegal mining in and around the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in which Solanki was involved.
In 2010, Jethwa had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the illegal mining that was in and around the Gir sanctuary, the only abode of the Asiatic lion. Dinu Solanki and Shiva Solanki were made respondents to the PIL, with Jethwa producing several documents showing their involvement.
Even as the PIL was being heard, Jethwa was shot dead outside the Gujarat High Court here on July 20, 2010. Initially, the Ahmedabad police's crime branch probed the case and gave a clean chit to Dinu Solanki.
Dissatisfied with the investigation, the high court handed over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2013. The CBI filed a charge sheet against Solanki and six others in November 2013. Charges of murder and criminal conspiracy were framed against them in May 2016.
The court examined 196 witnesses during the first trial. As many as 105 of them turned hostile (did not support the CBI case) after being threatened by the accused.
Slain RTI activist Amit Jethwa's father Bhikhabhai Jethwa then moved the high court seeking a re-trial. The HC ordered a fresh trial in 2017.
Bhikhabhai described the Court’s verdict as a victory of the ‘Indian judicial system and the Constitution’.
“Finally, we got justice as all the accused were convicted for the crime and given a life term,’’ said Bhikhabhai Jethwa after the court’s verdict in Ahmedabad.
The special CBI court also said that victim’s family will get Rs 11 lakh as compensation, of which the RTI activist’s widow will get Rs 5 lakh while the two children will get Rs 3 lakh each.