Intro: The refusal of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to hand over the unnatural deathcase of young IAS officer DK Ravi to CBI has led to public outrage in Karnataka. The officer was found hanging from a ceiling fan at his Bengaluru apartment.
Entire Karnataka is mourning the untimely death of young and upright IAS officer DK Ravi of 2009 batch. Massive protests erupted in Bengaluru and Kolar on March16, 2015 as the news of Mr Ravi's death spread.
DK Ravi worked as the Deputy Commissioner of Kolar district and earned the hearts of people of Kolar for taking pro people stand. When he was transferred to the post of Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes (Enforce-ment) entire Kolar came to a standstill protesting the move by Siddaramaiah government to remove Ravi from his post.
35-year old DK Ravi was a popular bureaucrat for being gutsy and honest in taking on the land and sand mafia and tax evaders, with reports that he was facing threats. Within four months upon taking over the new post, DK Ravi managed to detect tax evasion by big builders and recovered crores of rupees.
Each and every one in the state are either mourning in public or crying in privacy for losing the rarest of the rare officer who genuinely tried to wipe the tears of common man. He was found hanging from a ceiling fan on March 16 at St. John's Wood Apartments in Koramangala.
“How can such a dynamic and honest IAS officer who fought against corruption big way die cowardly by hanging in his house? There is a conspiracy behind his death. Please hand over the case to CBI to probe,” is the demand by people of Karnataka. The Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah has been adamant and has refused to hand over the case to CBI. As the CM sticks to his stand despite public outrage and demand for a CBI probe, rumours has it that CM and his ministers including Home Minister K J George is involved in the case as DK Ravi had initiated action against a real estate company owned by relatives of Home minster for fraudulent activities and if CBI takes over the case, Government may collapse in Karnataka. It is also said that few Congress legislators and Parliament members were upset with Ravi as he targeted all the corrupt business practices especially in real estate mafia. Hence, it is alleged that CM wants CID to submit a false report and close the matter.
MN Reddy, Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru city spoke to media on the day when Ravi died and said it appeared to be a suicide. People got angry and questioned how the commissioner could announce the death of DK Ravi to be a suicide even before investigation was over or before the post mortem was conducted.
Even as the government of Karnataka transferred the case to Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Inspector General of Police Pronab Mohanty who was in charge of the DK Ravi case, including four IAS officers from the state have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a CBI probe into the incident.
After CM announced that DK Ravi case will not be given to CBI but CID will probe it, the government had transferred Mohanty from the CID to the Lokayukta. This raised many eye brows as the case pertaining to the death of Ravi was being handled by the CID. But on March 19, Government announced that Mohanty will continue to head CID after public and media criticised the transfer and expressed suspiciousness that Government is trying to cover up the case.
Demanding CBI enquiry, BJP and Janata Dal(Secular) legislators held a day and night protest in the state assembly and the ongoing budget session got adjourned to March 23. They walked to Rajbhavan and met Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala on March 19 and requested him to intervene in the matter. It is learnt that Governor patiently listened to both BJP and JD(S) leaders and assured them of writing a letter to state government seeking details of steps taken by the Congress Government to find out the truth behind the unnatural death of DK Ravi. If it is not convincing, he assured them that he will invite the Chief Minister into his office and directly discuss the matter with him. BJP MPs from Karnataka demanded a CBI inquiry into IAS officer DK Ravi's death case. They made this demand in Parliament. “When the family members of DK Ravi are demanding CBI probe then the Karnataka CM should refer it to the CBI,” said former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa.
Karnataka MPs met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in his office in Delhi and appraised him about the gravity of the situation in Karnataka. Later Rajnath Singh spoke to CM Siddiaramaiah and sought a report on the issue.
“I have spoken with the Karnatka chief minister and he has said he will send a detailed report within a couple of days. If the state government wants (CBI probe), then as soon as I get a representation from them, we will be ready for a CBI inquiry, “said Rajnath Singh.
General Public, Government employees, section of IAS officers, traders, religious leaders, Farmers, politicians, artists, legal fraternity and various social organisations are organising condolence meetings across the state. Kolar district is observing bundh voluntarily. Students are protesting on roads. All of them want to know the truth behind the death. Meanwhile, according to a report in The Indian Express it is reported that, Ravi called his 2009 batch mate 44 times in a span of an hour the day he died; the woman IAS officer will now be called for questioning as part of the investigation. Demanding justice on the other hand, Ravi’s father Kariyappa, mother Gowramma and brother Ramesh staged a protest in front of the Vidhana Soudha and threatened suicide if their demand for CBI probe was not met.
R Guruprasad (The writer is a Bengaluru based journalist)