Bengaluru: Refusing to yield to mounting pressure for a CBI probe into the mysterious death of an upright IAS officer, Karnataka Government today announced a CID probe into his death that has evoked statewide outrage and protests.
As the 35-year-old IAS officer DK Ravi's death rocked the Assembly with public pressure also building up for a CBI probe, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the Crime Investigation Department would probe the case to unravel the "truth"--whether it was a suicide or murder or due to "some other" reasons.
"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 told the assembly, asserting that the city police were also efficient, as the Opposition insisted on a CBI probe and stormed into the well of the House.
The opposition protest led to adjournment in the pre-lunch session and after the House reassembled, BJP and JDS MLAs continued their dharna. Speaker Kagodu Thimappa then adjourned the House for the day, but BJP said its members would sit through the night till the demand for CBI probe was met.
Protests marked by sporadic incidents of stone pelting erupted in Kolar district, where Ravi, before being moved to Bengaluru, had served as Deputy Commissioner, taking on sand mafia and striking a chord with people with a pro-poor image.
Angry protesters in Kolar stoned the house of local MLA Varthur Prakash and 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, found hanging from a ceiling fan in his room at his official flat here yesterday, 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.
Thousands of people turned up on the road leading to Ravi's native village Doddekopalu in Tumakuru district, as they bade an emotional farewell when his body was taken for last rites. Ravi hailed from an agriculturist's family.
"Definitely Ravi is not a person who will commit suicide;
if at all he has committed a suicide then there should be a strong reason behind it. Let's see what comes out of investigations," an emotional Hanumantharayappa, father-in-law of Ravi, told a T V channel.
"No one could dare to threaten him for any thing, he is not a person who will bow down to things?..He was not like any other son-in-law but like a friend."
"I think analysis of his telephone conversation may lead to information whether someone had threatened him or pressurised him; there was no other issue in his life," he said.
Earlier, a statement by Home Minister K J George in the Assembly 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.
Ravi, a Karnataka cadre officer of 2009 batch, who had taken on the sand mafia in Kolar district, had cracked down on "biggies" in real estate and tax evaders in Bengaluru, plunging into action soon after he became the Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes in October.
As the Assembly was adjourned amid opposition dharna, senior BJP leader R Ashoka announced they would continue it through the night and till their demand for CBI probe was conceded.
Reacting to BJP's stand, Siddaramaiah, talking to reporters later, accused the opposition party of politicising the issue. He said he had requested them to give up dharna and take part in the discussions.
Police have announced a special investigation team, headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-East) Rohini Katoch,a medical doctor by qualification, to probe the case.
In the Assembly, Opposition BJP leader Jagadish Shettar questioned the "haste" with which police concluded that it was a case of suicide without waiting for the post-mortem report.
"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 Floor Leader and former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said there was some foul play.
"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.