As public anger mounted over the mysterious death of an upright IAS officer, his family has raised doubts over police’s claim that he committed suicide and hinted that he was under “political pressure”, insisting on a CBI probe.
“My son wouldn’t have committed suicide. He is not like that. He was strong hearted. My son was not a coward. I had not given birth to a son who could commit suicide,” Gowramma, the mother of DK Ravi, whose death has sparked outrage and rattled the state administration, said.
“He was a son of this country. I have a lost son of this country,” an inconsolable Gowramma said, as the government came in the line of fire from the Opposition parties and others for the suicide theory given by police.
35-year-old Ravi, a popular bureaucrat for being honest and gutsy in taking on the sand and land mafia and tax evaders, was found hanging from a ceiling fan at his room in a flat here on Monday evening, with the police saying it was a case of suicide prima facie.
Not buying the police version, the Opposition demanded a CBI probe, instead of CID inquiry as announced by the state government, to unravel the truth about the death of Ravi, Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes (Enforcement).
“My younger brother died because of political pressure,” Ravi’s brother Ramesh said as he broke down.
“I don’t know whether we will get justice,” he said alleging it was a murder.
Ravi’s father Kariyappa, Gowramma and Ramesh reached the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat, and staged a dharna there demanding a CBI probe into Ravi’s death.
“We only want a CBI probe. We want justice,” Gowramma said, with the other two also echoing the same.
There should be an impartial inquiry into the incident, the IAS officer’s father-in-law Hanumanthrayappa said.
Asked whether Ravi had shared any threats he was facing, Gowramma said, “He did not tell me what he was going through, I don’t know about it, he doesn’t share with me all this….”
“He did not tell me anything as I don’t understand all those things….they didn’t give him time to tell me….” an emotional Gowramma said, adding, “…I’m still not able to understand what has happened, I don’t know who pressurised my son, who did all this, but I want justice for my son.” Describing the scene when she first saw Ravi’s body, Gowramma, who spoke to a Kannada TV channel, said “I felt something was done to him…”
She said, “I had not studied, but with great difficulty I had given him education…..I have lost my son, I want justice for him that’s all.”
To a query, Hanumanthrayappa said, “S A Narayana Swamy, an MLA, was involved (in a land issue).”
He said he (Narayanswamy) was the one who sold the land to a group with multiple business interests.
“It was a government land and government recovered it. The matter has reached High Court. There are media reports about it,” he said.
Asked if there was a direct threat from Narayana Swamy or the company and whether Ravi shared this with police or family, Hanumantharayappa said “once when he had told me, I had told him that if you get any threat or a phone call from anyone you inform this to Chief Secretary, who is the administrative head for all IAS officers or inform this to Chief Minister if possible….and had told him not to neglect this.”
“I believe he might have informed it to the Chief Secretary but he did not meet Chief Minister,” he added.
Reacting to this, Narayanaswamy denied that he had links with any group, asserting that he had not held out any threats to Ravi.
“I have not held out any type of threats, telephonically or otherwise. When there is no link with any group, why will I hold out any threats,” the MLA said.
“Is it possible to make any threatening calls to the Deputy Commissioner? Would he have kept quiet if I had made any threatening call,” Narayanaswamy said.
Hanumantharayappa urged the Chief Minister to investigate the matter and come out with the truth. He said he is ready to cooperate with any kind of high level inquiry.
“I am ready to cooperate with any kind of investigation including CBI. I want the truth to come out,” he said.
Talking about telephone calls, Hanumantharayappa said Ravi received his last call from Gulbarga.
“Somebody from Gulbarga called him on his phone and asked him to come to the office at 11 AM. That was the last call,” he said.
He rubbished reports about differences between Ravi and his family.
“There is no truth in reports saying that there are differences between two of our families,” he added.
Hanumantharayappa also said he had requested the Chief Minister seeking transfer of Ravi to Bengaluru from Kolar, where he was the Deputy Commissioner.