RTI Activist Amit Jethwa's Murder: CBI Arrests BJP MP

New Delhi
RTI Activist Amit Jethwa's Murder: CBI Arrests BJP MP

CBI today arrested BJP MP from Gujarat Dinu Bogha Solanki in connection with the murder of of RTI activist Amit Jethwa who had waged a crusade against illegal mining in Gir Forest in the state, the last home of Asiatic lions.

Solanki, Lok Sabha member from Junagarh, Gujarat, arrived at the CBI headquarters this morning and was questioned throught the day, after which a CBI team decided to place him under arrest.

CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad said "the Lok Sabha MP from Junagadh has been taken into custody in the case of murder of RTI activist Amit Jethwa.

"He will be produced in a Delhi court tomorrow. Probe in the case is in progress", he added.

CBI sources said the parliamentarian was unable to give satisfactory answers after which it was decided to place him under arrest.

Gujarat Police had arrested six persons, including Shiva Solanki, nephew of the BJP MP, and sharp shooter Sailesh Pandya who had shot at Jethwa outside the Gujarat High Court. All of them were questioned by CBI inside a jail after taking permission from the designated court.

Jethwa was an RTI and environment activist who had filed numerous RTI applications and a PIL against illegal mining in Gir forest region. He was shot dead on July 20, 2010.

The MP was confronted with the statements given by other arrested accused in the case.

Gujarat Police's crime branch had ruled out any involvement of Solanki in the murder.

Terming the probe conducted by the Gujarat Police "far from fair, independent, bona fide or prompt", the High Court had transferred the case to CBI.

The killing had sparked an uproar among RTI activists across the country who raised concerns over the safety of such whistleblowers.

In his plea before the High Court, Jethwa's father Bhikabhai has alleged the state police had not properly probed the case and the state government was shielding the BJP MP.

The court had said the probe in the case was "far from fair, independent, bona fide or prompt".

"It has come on record that Shiva Solanki and DB (Dinu Bogha Solanki) were living together in a joint family and no investigator could have been easily satisfied with the statements that they did not interact in respect of the conspiracy to commit a capital crime," the court had said.

Jethwa had filed several petitions in the Gujarat High Court, including a Public Interest Litigation, in connection with illegal mining in Gir forests in Junagadh district which is a protected area and last home to Asiatic lions.

CBI took up the investigation of the case. During the course of further investigation, evidence has come on record that Jethwa was collecting information through RTIs about the alleged illegal activities of the accused, the spokesperson said in a statement.

The RTI activist had alleged he faced a threat to his life from the accused and others.

On June 28, 2010, Jethwa had filed a PIL in the Gujarat High Court against illegal mining in the protected Gir forest area in which the accused and his nephew were impleaded as respondents. The RTI activist was shot dead 14 days later.

The MP was called for questioning by CBI today and after detailed interrogation, he was arrested in the evening, the spokesperson said.


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