A special CBI court today sentenced former BJP lawmaker Dinu Bogha Solanki and six others to life imprisonment for killing RTI activist Amit Jethwa in 2010 after he tried to expose illegal mining activities in the Gir forest region in Gujarat.
Special CBI Judge KM Dave also imposed a fine of Rs 15 lakh each on Dinu Solanki and his nephew, also an accused in the case.
While pronouncing the verdict on Thursday, the court held Dinu Solanki, who was the BJP lawmaker from 2009 to 2014, and his nephew Shiva Solanki guilty of murder and conspiracy.
Amit Jethwa, a lawyer, was shot dead for exposing through RTI applications, the illegal mining in and around the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in which Dinu Solanki was allegedly involved.
In 2010, Amit Jethwa filed a public interest litigation against the illegal mining in and around the Gir sanctuary, the only home of Asiatic lions.
Dinu Solanki and his nephew were made respondents to the PIL and Amit Jethwa produced several documents showing their involvement in the illegal mining.
While the litigation was being heard, Amit Jethwa was shot dead outside the Gujarat High Court in 2010.
Initially, the Ahmedabad police gave a clean chit to Dinu Solanki in the case. Dissatisfied with the investigation, the high court handed over the case to CBI in 2013.
The CBI filed its chargesheet against Dinu Solanki and six others in November 2013. Charges of murder and criminal conspiracy were framed against them in May 2016.
The court examined 196 witnesses during the first trial and as many as 105 of them turned hostile after being threatened by the accused.
Amit Jethwa's father then moved the high court seeking a retrial. The high court ordered a fresh trial in 2017.
"Our judiciary takes time but it has finally delivered justice to our family... even a criminal like Solanki is brought to justice," Amit Jethwa's father said after the court's verdict.
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