The killers of RTI activist Amit Jethwa, Dinu Solanki and six others, have been convicted by a special CBI court in Gujarat. Special CBI judge K M Dave will pronounce the quantum of sentence on July 11 in the case.
The probe in the case was handed over to the central agency by the Gujarat High Court after the Crime Branch had given a clean chit to Solanki.
Through RTI replies, Jethva was exposing alleged illegal mining activities in Gir forest by former Junagadh parliamentarian Solanki.
Initially, the murder case was investigated by Ahmedabad Detection Crime Branch (DCB) which had chargesheeted six persons — Shiva Solanki (nephew of Dinu Solanki), Shailesh Pandya, Bahadursinh Vadher, Panchan G Desai, Sanjay Chauhan and Udaji Thakore. The DCB had given a clean chit to Solanki following which Jethva’s father Bhikhabhai had moved the High Court.
Jethwa was shot dead on July 20, 2010, by two assailants right outside Gujarat High Court. Post the CBI investigation, Solanki was arrested in 2013 from Delhi. He was chargesheeted in the murder case for conspiracy among other charges. The CBI accused Solanki of being 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 had turned hostile, allegedly under pressure from the BJP leader. Even the judge probing the case had requested for a security cover. Special CBI judge K M Dave, who is presiding over the murder trial of RTI activist Amit Jethva had sought “round-the-clock” security for himself and his family, citing the “sensitivity” of the case.
Sources in the CBI said that on behalf of judge Dave, then principal sessions court judge A R Patel had written a letter to the CBI Director in June this year asking for the security cover.