Judge seeks security

Sources in the CBI said that on behalf of judge KM Dave, then principal sessions court judge A R Patel had written a letter to the CBI Director in June this year asking for the security cover.

Special CBI judge K M Dave, who is presiding over the murder trial of RTI activist Amit Jethva has sought “round-the-clock” security for himself and his family, citing the “sensitivity” of the case. Former BJP MP from Junagadh, Dinu Bogha Solanki, is the prime accused in the case, and is currently on bail.

Sources in the CBI said that on behalf of judge KM Dave, then principal sessions court judge A R Patel had written a letter to the CBI Director in June this year asking for the security cover.

When The Indian Express sought a response from judge Dave, he said, “It is in process. I would not like to talk about it. You ask the concerned department.”

A CBI official on the condition of anonymity confirmed that judge Patel’s letter cited the murder trial of Amit Jethva as the reason for seeking the security cover. “In the letter ( reference number 295/2018) the principal judge has mentioned that special judge K M Dave is conducting trial of sensitive case of RTI activist Amit Jethva murder case and therefore, adequate security should be provided to the judge’s residence by paramilitary force,” the CBI official said.

The official added that the Centre had recently ordered security assessment of the judge. “We have learnt that the Central government has recently ordered to get the security cover assessment done by the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Based on their report, security will be provided to the judge. We don’t have any update on the issue till date,” the official said.

Jethva was shot dead on July 20, 2010 by two assailants outside the Gujarat High Court. Through RTI replies, the social worker had exposed illegal mining activities in Gir forest allegedly by former MP Solanki. Initially, the murder case was investigated by Ahmedabad Detection Crime Branch (DCB) which chargesheeted six persons — Shiva Solanki ( nephew of Dinu Solanki), Shailesh Pandya, Bahadursinh Vadher, Panchan G Desai, Sanjay Chauhan and Udaji Thakore. Solanki was given clean chit by the DCB, which forced Jethva’s father Bhikhabhai to move the High Court.

The High Court ordered the CBI to probe, and Solanki was arrested in 2013 from Delhi and was chargesheeted in the murder case. The CBI has accused Solanki as the main conspirator.

The trial of Amit Jethva case has seen several twists. Both the probes — one by the DCB and the other by the CBI — were clubbed together, and the central probe agency was asked to conduct the murder trial. When the trial began, one by one witnesses started turning hostile. Jethva’s father moved the High Court again, seeking fresh trial on the ground that 105 witnesses out of a total of 195 turned hostile allegedly under the pressure from the BJP leader. By then, the trial had concluded.

The High Court stayed the trial and later ordered a fresh trial. The court also directed to replace the then special judge Dinesh L Patel.

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