A special Central Bureau of Investigation court in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat on Thursday sentenced former Bharatiya Janata Party MP Dinu Solanki and six people to life imprisonment for the murder of Right to Information activist Amit Jethwa, ANI reported. Jethwa was shot dead outside the Gujarat High Court on July 20, 2010.
The court ordered the seven to pay a penalty of Rs 60 lakh, of which Rs 11 lakh has to be set aside as fixed deposit for Jethwa’s family members, The Indian Express reported. Of the Rs 11 lakh, the court allotted Rs 5 lakh to Jethwa’s wife and Rs 3 lakh each to his two sons. The court also directed authorities to initiate proceedings against 105 of the 195 witnesses who turned hostile.
Jethwa’s father Bhikhabhai Jethwa told Tv9 Gujarati that he was satisfied with the court’s verdict.
A special CBI court had found all the accused – Solanki, his nephew Shiva Solanki, Sanjay Chauhan, Shailesh Pandya, Pachan Desai, Udaji Thakore and police constable Bahadursinh Vader – guilty last week. They were charged under Sections 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), 120B (criminal conspiracy to commit an offence) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 25(1) of Arms Act (illegal possession of arms or ammunition).
At the time of his murder, Jethwa was fighting against illegal mining around Gir forest, where Solanki and his extended family had interests in limestone mining. Jethwa had filed a Public Interest Litigation in the High Court, challenging illegal mining in Gir.
Solanki was arrested in 2013 from Delhi and later named the main conspirator by the CBI in its chargesheet. The Detection of Crime Branch of Ahmedabad Police, which had initially investigated the incident, did not name Solanki in its two chargesheets. The Gujarat High Court then intervened and directed the CBI to investigate the matter.