A file photo of  IAS officer D.K. Ravi. Photo: PTI
A file photo of IAS officer D.K. Ravi. Photo: PTI

Karnataka: Bandh, massive protest after IAS officer DK Ravi found dead

State govt announces a CID probe; says preliminary report will be placed before the House in the next 15 days

Bengaluru: Refusing to concede the opposition demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe, the Karnataka government on Tuesday announced a CID inquiry into the death of an upright IAS officer who allegedly committed suicide under mysterious circumstances, as the issue rocked the state Assembly.

Not satisfied with chief minister Siddaramiah’s reply, opposition the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (Secular) members stormed into the well of the House and staged a dharna, raising slogans against the government for “failing" to protect honest officials.

As the opposition raised the issue, Siddaramiah said as per police account it is prima facie a case of suicide, but the government will investigate it impartially to unravel the mystery behind the officer’s death.

“Is it a suicide or a murder or has he died of some other reasons, we also want to know the truth. People should also know it," Siddaramaiah said, asserting that the city police were also efficient.

The chief minister said the case would be probed by Crime Investigation Department (CID) and “it will bring out the truth. We will have an impartial probe," he said triggering protests from opposition benches as their demand for a CBI probe was not accepted.

Karnataka home minister K.J George also said the preliminary report will be placed before the House in the next 15 days. George’s statement that some clues had been obtained by police in their preliminary probe that there could be some personal reasons for the suicide evoked protests from the opposition.

Earlier, opposition BJP leader Jagadish Shettar demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter as he suspected a case of murder, not suicide as claimed by police.

Shettar questioned the “haste" with which police came to a conclusion that it was a case of suicide without waiting for the post-mortem report. “Without waiting for the post-mortem report, the home ministry has come to a conclusion that it was a case of suicide - this smacks of suspicion that the government wants to bury the case," he said.

“Looking at the death of the IAS officer, the chief minister should hand over the case to CBI as it appears to be murder instead of suicide as claimed by the police," Shettar said, as he raised the issue. He 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.

JDS leader and former chief minister H.D Kumaraswamy also said there is some foul play in the death of the IAS officer. “I visited the room where the officer hanged himself from a ceiling fan. I am surprised to see that the fan to which his body hung was intact, was not damaged. It is not possible. The fan should have been damaged," he added.

Separately, Angry protesters in Kolar district where 35-year-old D.K. Ravi had taken on the sand mafia as Deputy Commissioner before being posted as Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes (Enforcement) in Bengaluru, blocked a National Highway placing burning tyres before being chased away by police.

Bengaluru Police Commissioner M. N. Reddi said that forensically, medically and examination of the situation all point to “prima facie understanding of a suicide."

He said Ravi was a “bold officer" and it was natural for people to think he was not a person to have committed suicide. But, he added, “let us wait for the medical report...no single angle will be untouched.... every angle will be covered." “We have not found any suicide note as of now and prima facie, we don’t see any room for foul play," he said.

Reddi said police would examine the CCTV footage from the apartment complex and analyse Ravi’s mobile records. Ravi, a Karnataka cadre officer of 2009 batch, who had taken on the sand mafia as Deputy Commissioner of Kolar district, had struck a chord with the people for being an honest and responsive officer.

Ravi, who had taken on the sand and land mafia, had allegedly committed suicide by hanging from a ceiling fan in his room at his official flat Bengaluru on Monday after returning home from office in the morning.

He was posted as Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes in October from Kolar which had then evoked strong protests from the local people. Police have announced a special investigation team, headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-East) Rohini Katoch, who is a medical doctor by qualification, to probe the case.