A Special Court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) here on Saturday convicted former Gujarat BJP MP Dinu Bogha Solanki in the murder of RTI activist Amit Jethva. The court also convicted six others in the case. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on July 11.
Jethva was shot dead outside the Gujarat High Court on July 20, 2010, by two assailants. Jethva, had through RTI queries, exposed illegal mining in the Gir forests allegedly involving the former parliamentarian. Gir forests are the only abode of the Asiatic Lion.
Special CBI judge K.M. Dave convicted the seven accused, including Solanki, a former Lok Sabha member from Junagadh constituency in the Saurashtra region.
Solanki was chargesheeted by the CBI as the key conspirator in the murder of the RTI activist. The CBI established that Jethva was killed at Solanki’s behest because he brought to light the illegal mining activities, involving the MP, in the prohibited areas of the Gir forest. The findings were based mainly on call data records (CDR).
The murder case was earlier investigated by Ahmedabad Detection Crime Branch (DCB), which had chargesheeted six persons — Shiva Solanki, a nephew of Dinu Solanki, Shailesh Pandya, Bahadursinh Vadher, Panchan G. Desai, Sanjay Chauhan and Udaji Thakore. But the DCB gave a clean chit to all the accused.
Jethva’s father, Bhikhabhai Jethva, had then moved the Gujarat High Court and filed a petition seeking a fair probe by the CBI into the investigation.
After more than 100 out of the total 195 witnesses turned hostile, the Supreme Court ordered a re-investigation in the high profile case.
CBI Judge Dave twice sought security cover for himself and his family as he was presiding over the sensational murder case. Even Bhikhabhai Jethva had sought protection, but Justice S.H. Vohra of the Gujarat High Court had disposed off the petition ruling that this was not required.