Former BJP parliamentarian Dinu Bogha Solanki and his nephew Shiva, who have been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a special CBI court on July 11 for the murder of RTI activist Amit Jethwa, have moved the Gujarat High Court challenging the verdict of the lower court. The appeals are likely to be taken up for hearing next week.
Apart from the duo, five others convicted with them are also likely to move the High Court against the life term awarded to them by the special CBI court.
The appellants had contended that the impugned judgment and order of conviction and sentence is arbitrary, erroneous in law, and contrary to the facts and circumstances of the case. It has been also contended that the evidence produced on record by CBI suffers from numerous infirmities and the court should not have convicted them based on such evidence.
Solanki had represented the Junagadh Lok Sabha constituency between 2009 and 2014. A few days before his murder, Jethwa had exposed illegal mining in and around Gir forest and had filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court in this regard.
The activist had produced several documents before the court to prove the involvement of Solanki in illegal mining. He was shot point-blank by two men on July 20, 2010, outside the gate of the High Court.
Initially, Ahmedabad police’s crime branch probed the case. However, it gave a clean chit to Solanki. Unhappy with the probe, the High Court ordered CBI to investigate the case in 2013.
The probe agency filed a chargesheet against Solanki and the six others, with the court framing charges against them in May 2016. The special CBI court examined 196 witnesses during the trial, out of which 105 turned hostile after being threatened by Solanki. Jethwa’s father Bhika moved High Court against it and the court ordered a fresh trial in the case in 2017.