CBI gets two-day transit remand of BJP MP in murder case

A Delhi court granted a two-day transit remand to the CBI to take arrested BJP MP Dinubhai Boghabhai Solanki to Ahmedabad in connection with murder of RTI activist Amit Bhikabhai Jethwa.

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Wednesday granted a two-day transit remand to the CBI to take arrested BJP MP Dinubhai Boghabhai Solanki to Ahmedabad in connection with murder of RTI activist Amit Bhikabhai Jethwa who had waged a crusade against illegal mining in Gir Forest, home of Asiatic lions.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Lokesh Kumar Sharma allowed the CBI to take Solanki to Ahmedabad under its custody after the agency sought his two-day remand, saying he is required to be produced before the court concerned tomorrow.

Solanki, Lok Sabha member from Junagadh, Gujarat, was arrested last evening after he joined the investigation at CBI headquarters following a Supreme Court order.

"Application seeking two-day transit remand was moved by CBI for his (Solanki`s) production before special CBI court as the accused is stated to be involved in the crime...
Accused is remanded to two days of transit remand in police custody," the CMM said.

The court also directed the CBI to get the accused medically examined in a government hospital in Gujarat.

Seeking his transit remand, the CBI told the court that Solanki has been booked under Sections 120 B read with 302 IPC for conspiring to murder Jethwa in July 2010.

The agency alleged that he was "actively involved" in the conspiracy and he was arrested "after his answers were not satisfactory during the investigation and pointed towards his involvement in the crime".

It said he has to be produced before the special CBI court in Ahmedabad tomorrow and from there it will seek his custody for further investigation in the case.

The CBI submitted that two chargesheets have already been filed before the designated court in Ahmedabad and Solanki was named as accused in the second chargesheet in which he has been booked for the murder of the activist.

The agency told the court that investigation was handed over to it on the directions of Gujarat High Court as the state police had given clean chit to Solanki in the case. The Gujarat Police had arrested six persons, including Shiva Solanki, nephew of the BJP MP, and sharp shooter Sailesh Pandya who had allegedly 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 Gujarat Police had ruled out any involvement of Solanki in the murder.

The BJP MP had been given a clean chit by the Crime Branch of Gujarat Police, prompting Jethwa`s father to approach the Gujarat High Court.

The high court had said the probe conducted by the Gujarat Police in the case was "far from fair, independent, bona fide or prompt" and had transferred the case to the CBI.

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

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

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

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.