Amit Jethva murder: Ex-BJP MP gets life imprisonment

Bikhubhai ( in the middle middle), father of Amit Jethva, coming out of the court who is accompanied by independent MLA Jignesh Mevani.

A special CBI court here has sentenced ex BJP MP Dinu Bogha Solanki, his nephew Shiva and five others to life imprisonment. Last Friday, the court had found all the seven accused guilty of conspiracy and murder of RTI activist Amit Jethva.

The court has ordered compensation of Rs11 lakh to the victim's family. The money will be extracted from all the seven convicts. The convicts will have to pay a total of Rs60 lakh as fine. 

The special judge KM Dave had found Solanki, who had been given clean chit by the local police, guilty for conspiracy (IPC 120-B) and murder (IPC 302)  along with his nephew Shiva Solanki and other five accused. The special judge pronounced the judgement in-camera citing "Gujarat High Court order."

Jethva was shot dead on July 20, 2010, by two assailants right outside Gujarat High Court. Through RTI replies, he was exposing the alleged illegal mining activities in Gir forest by Solanki. Initially, the murder case was investigated by Ahmedabad Detection Crime Branch (DCB) which charge-sheeted six persons — Shiva Solanki ( nephew of Dinu Solanki), Shailesh Pandya, the shooter, Bahadursinh Vadher, Panchan G Desai, Sanjay Chauhan and Udaji Thakore. The DCB gave clean chit to Solanki against which Jethva’s father Bhikhabhai moved the High Court.

The High Court ordered CBI investigation and Solanki was charge-sheeted in the murder case for conspiracy among other charges. The CBI accused Solanki as the main conspirator.  Both the probes — one by the DCB and the other by the CBI — were clubbed together, and the central probe agency was asked to conduct the murder trial.  

The trial of Amit Jethva case has seen several twists. When the trial began, the witnesses started turning hostile. Many complained of threats. Jethva’s father moved the High Court again seeking a fresh trial on the ground that 105 witnesses out of a total of 195 turned hostile allegedly under the pressure from the BJP leader. By then, the trial had concluded.

The high court ordered a fresh trial and changed the then special judge who was presiding over the case. The accused moved Supreme Court set aside high court's order and directed the CBI to recall 26 key witnesses for fresh examination.

Elated with the judgement, Jethva's father Bhikhabhai told reporters that "At last, justice has prevailed." Advocate Anand Yagnik, who was one of the star witnesses in the case, also hailed the judgement as "victory of democracy." Yagnik has been supporting the Jethva family in their relentless legal battle.

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