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HC orders retrial in 2010 murder of Gujarat RTI activist Amit Jethva

The main accused are former BJP MP Dinu Solanki and his nephew Shiva, who allegedly got environmental activist Amit Jethva killed by hiring sharp shooters.

india Updated: Jun 30, 2017 07:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Gujarat,Gujarat high court,RTI activist
RTI activist Amit Jethva was killed in Gujarat in 2010.(File Photo)

In an unprecedented judgment, the Gujarat high court on Thursday ordered day-to-day fresh trial in the murder case of RTI activist Amit Jethva.

The CBI court had sometime back concluded the trial and verdict was due.

Justice JB Pardiwala, following a plea in this regard filed by Jethva’s father Bhikhubhai, also ordered the transfer of the special CBI judge as the pronouncement of the verdict has been stayed.

The main accused are former BJP MP Dinu Solanki and his nephew Shiva, who allegedly got environmental activist Jethva killed by hiring sharp shooters.

“I had filed a plea for retrial as 105 of 195 witnesses turned hostile after being threatened by the accused, severely affecting the trial,” said Bhikhubhai. He added, “The court has also ordered Gujarat police and CBI to monitor the development and provide protection to witnesses to instil faith in them.”

After five witnesses had registered a complaint of threat, three were also being provided police protection. “But no investigation was done into the threat calls,” added the father, who earlier fought to get the case investigated by the CBI instead of local police.

Ordering that the trial be conducted by a new judge in CBI court, the HC said, “From day one, the manner and method in which the accused persons, more particularly Dinu Solanki, have dominated the proceedings speaks volumes of the power they are able to wield.”

The court observed, “I am very sorry to say that the presiding officer also failed in his solemn duty to reach the truth. The presiding officer remained a mute spectator for one reason or the other and continued to witness the drama of mockery of justice.”

Jethva, who had founded the Gir Nature Club, was shot dead outside the high court. A couple of days before he was shot dead, Jethva had filed a PIL in the high court alleging illegal mining around Gir Wildlife Sanctuary by Solanki in 2010.

First Published: Jun 30, 2017 07:46 IST