Environmentalist and social worker Amit Jethva was shot dead on July 20, 2010 by two assailants outside Gujarat High Court. Jethva had filed several litigations in court against illegal mining activities in forest protected areas and had named Bharatiya Janata Party politician Dinu Solanki as a respondent. The next month, Solanki’s nephew Shiva Solanki was arrested for hiring assassin Pachan Shiva and another to carry out the shooting.
The Gujarat High Court pulled up the Gujarat Police for its investigations into the matter and for giving a clean chit to Dinu Solanki even though his nephew had been arrested in the case. The High Court then ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation to take over the investigation. In November 2013, CBI arrested Dinu Solanki and chargesheeted him for hatching conspiracy and murder.
Jethva’s family claimed that he had been receiving constant threats for his apparent interventions in illegal mining racket in Saurashtra. On their side, the CBI has alleged the accused eliminated Jethva since he had been exposing their illegal operations.
A trial court has concluded the case already and reserved the judgment. However, a petition by Amit’s father Bhikhabhai Jethva prompted the High Court to stay the pronouncement of judgment. In his petition, he had asked for the retrial of 105 out of 195 witnesses. The 105 witnesses had turned hostile before the trial court. Amit’s father also alleged that the witnesses were being threatened by the accused Dinu and his nephew Shiva.
The CBI had objected to the retrials and said that the witnesses who turned hostile could be recalled. It had said that whenever it received any complaints of threats, it had informed the Gujarat Police and special trial court. According to the state government, the state Intelligence Bureau found nothing into the alleged threats.