New Delhi: The killing of Karnataka official S P Mahantesh, said to be a whistle-blower in controversial land allotments by societies, was raised in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday by a CPI-M member who suspected its linkages with the controversial Tatra Truck purchases in the defence ministry.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, K N Balagopal (CPI-M) said Mahantesh was a crucial source of some of the stories that appeared in newspapers published on the corruption and irregularity in land allotment for various cooperative societies including that of BEML employees in Banglaore.
Ruing that more than a dozen RTI activists and whistle-blowers have been murdered in last one year and that the government has "pathetically failed" to protect them, he insisted that the murder of Mahantesh was a different one as he had released a copy of the report on land allotment to BEML.
Army Chief General VK Singh had said in an interview that money was offered to him to clear the purchase of 600 "sub-standard" Tatra trucks. Tatra, a Czech manufacturer, supplies trucks to the Army through BEML. These trucks are manufactured in the Czech Republic.
On the controversy surrounding the supply of Tatra Trucks to Indian Army through BEML, Balagopal said, "it is for the Centre to prove that the murder is not related to Tatra Truck and BEML."
Mahantesh was assaulted a few days back and succumbed to injuries, triggering strong reactions from the intelligentsia, civil society and the political class.