AHMEDABAD: Stating that his conviction was not likely to be sustained, the Gujarat High Court on Thursday suspended the life sentence awarded to former BJP MP Dinu Bogha Solanki by a special court in the murder case of RTI activist Amit Jethwa.
Granting bail to Solanki, Justice Paresh Upadhyay said the special CBI court’s judgement was “erroneous and unsustainable” as the trial was based “on assumptions and presumptions and also conjunctures and surmises”.
The trial against Solanki was largely based on circumstancial evidence, the high court said, adding that this evidece “not only leads to many other hypothesis than that of the guilt of the accused, (but) even false implication of the applicant can not be ruled out.”
RTI activist Amit Jethwa was shot dead outside the Gujarat High Court in 2010.
In July 2019, the trial court here sentenced Solanki and six others to life imprisonment for killing Jethwa after he tried to expose the illegal mining in the Gir forest region.
Solanki, currently lodged at the Sabarmati Central Jail here, challenged the CBI court’s verdict, and sought suspension of his sentence while his appeal was heard.
The high court took into consideration the fact that Solanki, who was a sitting MP of the BJP in 2010, was named as prime accused only in 2013 after the CBI took over the probe.
Neither the Special Investigation Team nor state CID-Crime had named him as an accused earlier, the HC noted.
“We have no hesitation to arrive at the conclusion that, the conviction under section 302 (murder) of IPC with the aid of section 120-B (conspiracy) is less likely to be sustained.
For all the above reasons, the sentence imposed by the CBI Court needs to be suspended and the applicant needs to be granted bail, during pendency of appeal,” the high court said.
The CBI court “fell in error by taking into consideration irrelevant aspects. the conviction recorded by the CBI court is principally based on assumptions and presumptions and the same is ex-facie (on the face of it) unsustainable,” it added.
The HC granted Solanki bail on the condition of surrendering the passport and not leaving the country without prior permission of the court.