Opposition parties in Karnataka on Tuesday made a strong demand for a CBI inquiry into the death of IAS officer DK Ravi as they alleged that it was a case of murder and not suicide as stated by police.
Ravi, who had taken on the sand and land mafia, was found dead in his official residence on Monday. Bengaluru Police commissioner Reddi had said that forensic and medical evidence hinted that Ravi’s death was prima facie a case of suicide.
Reddi added that a thorough investigation was on and warned against jumping to any conclusion.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) condemned Ravi’s death and urged the Karnataka government to come out with the facts that led to his ‘shocking’ demise.
“Looking at the death of the IAS officer, the chief minister should hand over the case to the CBI as it appears to be murder instead of suicide as claimed by the police,” said BJP leader and former chief minister Jagadish Shettar in the state assembly.
Shettar said the IAS officer had been receiving threat calls from influential and powerful builders and underworld dons because he had taken some hard decisions against them.
Shettar also said the incident raises suspicion about the nexus between developers and politicians.
“The government should treat this case as an organised crime,” he said.
The government should collect call details of the deceased IAS officer to know the truth behind his death and also take steps to prevent destruction of evidence and clues pertaining to the incident, the former CM said.
“The state government has failed in protecting honest officials,” he said.
Ravi, a 2009 batch IAS officer, who had earned a reputation for being upright, had recently taken over as joint commissioner of Commercial Taxes.
He was chasing builders in the city who had been evading taxes for years, one of his colleagues told HT on the condition of anonymity. The same source also said that Ravi had collected more than Rs 100 crore in outstanding tax dues from the builders.
The 35-year-old had also taken on the sand mafia as deputy commissioner of Kolar district.
Union law minister Sadananda Gowda too urged the Karnataka government to look into the matter.
“Everybody suspects it is a cold blooded murder. We request the state government to look into it. If they need help from the Centre or want the CBI to investigate, we will pressurise the home ministry on this,” said Gowda.
Senior BJP leader Suresh Kumar said, “People are already suspecting that the politicians and builders are related to this incident.”
“This incident has shocked the people of the state and the government should take appropriate action to send right message to people and honest officers,” he said.
Kumar’s colleague and former home minister R Ashoka said since people are demanding that the case be handed over to the CBI, the chief minister should honour their demand.
Ashoka flayed city police commissioner Reddi for terming the incident as a prima facie case of suicide without carrying out any investigation.
“This only raises suspicion that the government is trying to bury the case and cover the crime of some influential and powerful people,” he said.
Another former CM and state Janata Dal (Secular) president HD Kumaraswamy also pressed for a CBI enquiry.
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramiah, however, said the city police is capable of investigating the IAS officer’s death and added that it remained to be seen if the case will be referred to investigating agencies.
In Lucknow, social activist Nutan Thakur also appealed for a thorough investigation into his death terming his death as “suspicious”.
“The way Ravi ji’s body has been found, the whole matter is obviously suspicious. The entire case should be thoroughly investigated. He took on the sand mafia and certain land mafias,” said Thakur.
“I can very well understand how such an officer, who fights against corruption, is made to face many hurdles. They are threatened and all kinds of efforts are made to stop them. The unauthorised work involve huge amount of money. That’s why the culprits make all kinds of efforts to stop them,” she added.
IPS officer Amitabh Thakur asked Bengaluru Police to look into the case with “utmost seriousness”.
“Now that such a large number of officers are losing the confidence of the people, the mysterious death of Ravi is a very sad and grave incident and it needs to be looked into very properly and in complete depth. I request the Bengaluru Police to take up the matter very seriously and to unearth all the facts behind the death,” Thakur told ANI.
“It is a reality today that after the political mafia nexus, the officers many a times are under intense pressure and this leads to many kinds of situations, where officers are murdered in the way of their duty. Hence Ravi’s death needs to be taken with utmost seriousness,” he added.
The mortal remains of Ravi were brought to his residence in Bengaluru as his supporters lined up to pay their last respects.
Protests erupted in Bengaluru and locals called for a shutdown in Kolar district of Karnataka, following the young officer’s death. Kolar Police have deployed additional personnel to prevent the lockdown called by some organisations as a mark of respect for Ravi.
The protesters — mostly volunteers of the Aam Aadmi Party and members of pro-Kannada group Jai Karnataka — demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation, reports said.
Reddi had said that Ravi’s wife found his body hanging from the ceiling. He said that a special team has been formed to probe the case and the police does not “any room for foulplay.”
Police said they are likely to analyse Ravi’s mobile records, entry records of his apartment’s reception, and CCTV cameras in the vicinity.