Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Amit Jethwa murder case: Gujarat High Court orders CBI probe

Amit Jethwa murder case: Gujarat High Court orders CBI probe

Strongly criticising the Gujarat police for its investigation in the 2010 murder of RTI activist Amit Jethwa, the Gujarat High Court on Tuesday ordered a CBI probe in the case.

The division bench of Justice DH Vaghela and Justice JC Upadhayay conceded the demand of activist's father Bhikabhai Jethwa for a CBI probe and asked the central agency to complete further investigation in the case, preferably within six months.

A Right to Information (RTI) activist, Jethwa, who had filed numerous RTI applications and a PIL against illegal mining in Gir forest region, was shot dead outside the Gujarat High Court on July 20, 2010.

The court observed that investigation by the Gujarat police in the Jethwa murder case was far from satisfactory and to instill the confidence and sense of justice in the probe, the court is compelled to transfer it in the hands of CBI.

The court asked the CBI to carry forward further investigation and directed all officers who were involved in the probe so far to cooperate with the agency.

The court also asked the earlier investigating officer to provide all probe-related papers to the CBI within 10 days.

After the pronouncement of the judgment, the government pleader requested for a stay of three weeks to challenge the order in the higher forum, but it was rejected by the court.

Bhikabhai had approached the high court saying that the state police had not properly investigated the case.

He had alleged that Junagadh BJP MP Dinu Solanki was behind the murder but the state government was shielding him.

In its investigation, Gujarat police had given a clean chit to Solanki.

The Gujarat police had arrested six people in the case including BJP MP Dinu Solanki's nephew Shiva Solanki and sharp shooter Sailesh Pandya, who had fired at Jethwa.

During the course of hearing in the case, Bhikhabhaihad alleged that police had not conducted any investigation in the alleged involvement of Solanki in the murder of Jethwa.

Following this, the court had directed for further probe in the case to be done by the then Superintendent of Police, Surendranagar, Raghvendra Vatsa, and ordered him to specifically probe the role of the BJP MP.

After his probe, Vatsa had concluded that he did not find any evidence of Amit Jethwa being murdered at the behest of Solanki and had given a clean chit to him.

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