On July 11, former BJP MP Dinu Solanki, along with six others, were sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of RTI activist Amit Jethwa on July 20, 2010.
All the accused — Solanki, his nephew Shiva Solanki, Sanjay Chauhan, Shailesh Pandya, Pachan Desai, Udaji Thakore and police constable Bahadursinh Vader — were found guilty under IPC Sections 302(murder), 201(causing disappearance of evidence of offence), 120B(criminal conspiracy to commit an offence) and Section 25(1) of Arms Act(illegal possession of arms or ammunition) by a special CBI court. In its verdict, the court also ordered that proceedings be initiated against the 105 witnesses who turned hostile.
A total penalty sum of Rs 59,25,000 has been imposed on all convicts by the special CBI judge KM Dave.
Further, as ordered by the court, Rs 11 lakh from this account shall be dedicated towards Jethwa’s family, including fixed deposits in a national bank worth three lakh rupees each for two of his sons and five lakh rupees for Jethwa’s wife.
On July 20, 2010, two assailants shot dead Jethwa outside the Gujarat High Court for exposing illegal mining activities in Gir forest allegedly carried out by Solanki. After committing the crime, the assailants fled and left behind their Bajaj Discover motorcycle. They also left behind the weapon of murder – a country-made revolver.
At that time, Solanki was an MP from Junagadh. In the initial investigation by the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) of Ahmedabad, he was not named in the two chargesheets that were filed against the perpetrators.
Solanki was given a clean chit by the DCB, then under Joint Commissioner of Police, who is now the DGP & IG (Prisons).
When the trial began, 105 of the 195 witnesses who were to depose turned hostile.
Thereafter, the Gujarat High Court was moved by Jethwa’s father Bhikabhai, seeking a re-trial in the case, following which a fresh trial of 26 witnesses was directed by the court of Justice JB Pardiwala. The then special judge CBI Dinesh L Patel was also replaced by the HC.
“The judgment today is a victory for us, the judiciary, the Constitution and makes us believe in the judicial system and that goons can be defeated,” The Indian Express quoted Bhikabhai as saying.
Also Read: Accused Of RTI Activist’s Murder, Gujarat BJP Leader Roams Freely Despite Supreme Court Order
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