The Gujarat High Court on Thursday ordered a retrial in the murder case of RTI activist Amit Jethva. Former Bharatiya Janata Party’s Junagadh MP Dinu Solanki is one of the key accused in the case. The court also ordered a new judge be appointed to conduct fresh day-to-day trials, reported The Indian Express.
Jethva’s father Bhikhabhai had moved the High Court, demanding retrial and investigation into the case. With this, Justice JB Pardiwala set aside the trial in a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) court even before the verdict has been announced. “This is a first case in the judicial history of the country that before pronouncement of judgement, the trial has been set aside and retrial ordered before a new judge,” lawyer Anand Yagnik, who represents Jethva’s father, told The Hindu.
The High Court called the trial at the CBI court a “miscarriage of justice” as it was believed to have been manipulated by Solanki. The court stayed the trials after 105 out of 195 witnesses had turned hostile. Yagnik said the court asked the Gujarat government and the CBI to ensure that the retrial is conducted without any undue influence.
Jethva, a wildlife and RTI activist, was shot dead outside Gujarat High Court in 2010 after he had filed a PIL, alleging illegal mining of limestone in Gir forest. Although the Ahmedabad crime branch had given Solanki a clean chit, the CBI arrested and named him in its chargesheet in 2013.