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Former BJP MP, six others get life sentence for RTI activist’s murder

A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ahmedabad on Thursday sentenced former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker, Dinu Bogha Solanki, and six others to life in prison for murdering Right to Information (RTI) activist, Amit Jethwa, in July 2010.

Solanki, who has represented Gujarat’s Junagadh in Parliament, Shiva, Sanjay Chauhan, Shailesh Pandya, Pachan Desai, Udaji Thakore and Bahadursinh Vader were convicted of murder, criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and possession of illegal arms on July 6. Judge KM Dave had then reserved his order on the quantum of punishment.

The court also slapped a fine of ₹15 lakh each on Solanki and Shiva and ₹ 10 lakh on Vader. The other four have also been asked to pay fines. The court announced a compensation of ₹5 lakh for Jethwa’s widow, Alpa, and ₹3 lakh for each of his two children.

“Justice has been done. My nine-year-long struggle has come to an end,” said Jethwa’s father, Bhikhubhai.

Jethwa, 35, was shot dead outside the Gujarat high court on July 20, 2010. He was murdered days after the court admitted his petition against Solanki’s illegal mining in the Gir forest. Jethwa was a resident of a village near the forest in Amreli district.

“The quantum of sentence was pronounced in camera and the court’s observation will be known after studying the judgment,” said CBI’s lawyer, Hari Mohan, “The head office will decide whether to appeal for capital punishment.” The high court ordered a CBI investigation into the murder following Bhikhubhai’s plea in this regard in 2012. He moved the court after Ahmedabad crime branch exonerated Solanki.

First Published:
Jul 11, 2019 23:50 IST

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