New Delhi : In a major relief to Gujarat BJP MP Dinubhai Solanki, arrested in November, the Supreme Court on Tuesday granted him bail in the murder of RTI activist Amit Jethwa by two motorcycle riders outside the Gujarat High Court in July 2010.
He was arrested by the CBI that was entrusted the investigations into Jethwa’s murder by the High Court in September 2012, after the Gujarat Police gave him a clean chit and Jethwa’s father approached the Court for probe by the central agency. Jethwa was campaigning against Solanki and his family for alleged illegal mining in the Gir Sanctuary areas in the Saurashtra region. He was gunned down soon after he filed a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) against them.
In a judgment delivered on Tuesday, the Bench of Justices Surinder Singh Nijjar and A K Sikri found no grounds in the CBI submissions to keep him in custody. The Bench had reserved its judgment on February 4. Besides Solanki, a Junagarh MP, his nephew Shiva and five others were arrested in the case.
The CBI’s case was that Jethwa was shot dead outside the High Court building since he had extracted information against Solanki and his relatives through RTI applications and filed a PIL in the Gujarat High Court for alleged illegal mining by them in Una and Kodinar areas of Saurashtra. The PIL had also alleged that the Solankis were running illegal mines and stone crushers in a village on the border of the protected Gir forests.
A close colleague of BJP general secretary Amit Shah, Solanki had won the Kodinar Assembly seat in 2002 and won the Junagarh Lok Sabha seat by a narrow margin of 1.8 per cent. He has a history of criminal charges
Since 2008, Jethwa had filed six requests under the RTI Act on the alleged illegal mining lobby operating in the Gir Forest National Park area. It was, however, in 2010 that he invited the wrath of Solanki and his relatives for filing the PIL against them for the illegal mining.