The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to Gujarat BJP leader Dinubhai Solanki, who is facing trial for allegedly murdering RTI activist Amit Jethwa in 2010.
Known as 'green crusader' for his fight against illegal mining in the Gir Forest, RTI activist Jethwa was shot dead by unidentified persons outside the Gujarat high court in July 2010.
"Keeping in view the fact that the CBI has submitted the supplementary chargesheet and that the trial is likely to take a long time, we deem it appropriate to enlarge the petitioner-appellant (Solanki) on bail..." a bench of justice SS Nijjar and justice AK Sikri said.
The bench, however, refused to reverse the Gujarat HC order handing over the Jethwa murder probe to the CBI.
It asked him to deposit his passport with the trial court and not to leave the country without prior permission of the court. He will have to furnish a personal security in the sum of Rs.5 lacs with two solvent sureties, each of the like amount, to the satisfaction of the trial court.
The bench directed the BJP MP to appear in trial court as and when required and make himself available for any further investigation or interrogation by the CBI as and when required. He has also been directed not to induce or threaten any witness.
Solanki, a BJP MP from Junagarh, has been in jail since his arrest in November 2013 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which had taken over the investigation of the case in September 2012 following a Gujarat High Court order. The CBI had also arrested six others including his nephew.
Jethwa's family had accused that Solanki was behind the murder, as the RTI activist had named him in a Public Interest Litigation over illegal mining in the Gir Forest, considered to be the last remaining abode of the Asiatic lions. Jethwa's family claimed that Solanki had hatched the conspiracy to kill him.