New Delhi: Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Dinu Bogha Solanki from Saurashtra district in Gujarat along with six others on Thursday was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of RTI activist Amit Jethwa in July 2010.
A Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Court pronounced the seven accused guilty on July 6 but reserved their pronouncement of the quantum of punishment.
The other six convicts include the BJP MP’s son Shiva Solanki, Sanjay Chauhan, Shailesh Pandya, Panchan Desai, Udaji Thakore and a police constable Bahadursinh Vader. They were charged under Sections 302 (murder), 201 (disappearance of evidence of offence), and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as Section 25(1) of Arms Act for illegal possession of weapons or ammunition.
The special CBI judge KM Dave imposed a total penalty sum of Rs 59,25,000 on the convicts. The court also ordered legal proceedings against all the 105 witnesses involved in the incident who had turned hostile.
The verdict came after Jethwa’s father moved Gujarat High Court seeking a re-trial.
On July 20, 2010, Jethwa was shot dead by two assailants on a motorbike outside Gujarat High Court for exposing illegal mining activities in Gujarat’s Gir forests.
It was alleged that the then Junagarh MP Dinu Bogha Solanki was involved in the illegal activities. However, the Ahmedabad detection fo Crime Branch (DCB) did not include his name in any of the two chargesheets filed against the accused in their initial investigation.
Solanki was given a clean chit by the then Joint Commissioner of Police Mohan Jha, who retired as the DGP and IG (Prisons) two months ago.
Justice J.B. Pardiwala directed a fresh trial of 26 witnesses as well as ordered replacement of the then CBI Court’s Special Judge Dinesh L. Patel. Justice Dave had even sought police protection for himself and his family.
Dinu Bogha Solanki was continuing his parliamentary term when he was arrested in 2013 from Delhi and subsequently was chargesheeted by the CBI as the key conspirator in the case.