Resisting growing clamour for a CBI probe, Karnataka Government today decided to stick to its decision not to refer to the central agency the case of mysterious death of an upright IAS officer, as the issue paralysed Assembly for the third day and echoed in Parliament.
As public anger escalated with the demand of family of the officer D K Ravi for a CBI probe resonating across the state amidst continuing protests, Home Minister K J George made it clear after a cabinet meeting that there was no change in the stand of the government, which has come under attack from the Opposition and others for “stonewalling” central probe.
“Whatever decision we have taken on the floor of the House (Assembly), that is the decision and we will stick to it,” George told reporters.
In Lok Sabha, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said if the state government recommends a CBI probe, the Centre will immediately order an inquiry by the central agency.
The issue was raised by a delegation of MPs who met him and Karnataka Chief Minister has informed him that after receiving more details, he would send a detailed report to the Centre, Singh said as BJP state unit President Prahlad Joshi raised the matter.
Ratcheting up pressure, BJP and JDS MLAs marched in a procession from Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat, to Raj Bhavan and requested Governor Vajubhai Vala to advise the Siddaramaiah Government to refer the case to CBI.
The march came after members of both parties stalled proceedings in the Assembly as they continued their round-the-clock dharna for the third day, forcing adjournment of the House till March 23.
As the Assembly met, BJP and JDS members raised slogans insisting on a CBI probe but the state government refused to budge. Amidst the din, the House was abruptly adjourned.
Accusing the government of trying to “hush up” the case, Opposition parties today sought Governor’s intervention for a CBI probe into the death of the officer, who was found hanging from a ceiling fan at a room in his apartment on March 16.
“We have petitioned him (Governor) that this mysterious death should be investigated only by CBI. We have told him that with an intention to hush up this issue government is not willing to hand over this issue to CBI,” Opposition BJP leader in the Assembly, Jagadish Shettar told reporters after they met Vala.
Charging the Congress Government with trying to hush up the case, Shettar said, “there is vested interest behind this case, politicians and big people are behind this. Truth behind this mysterious death has to come out. Hence we are demanding a CBI inquiry and we have apprised the Governor about it.”
He said they have told the Governor that he should direct the state government to hand over this case to CBI. “Governor has promised to look into this issue and he has said he will do whatever possible within the ambit of law.”
JDS leader and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said, “the Chief Minister who ordered CID inquiry has in an interview to a newspaper questioned the reason behind Ravi leaving for home within an hour of him reaching office on the day of his death.”
Pointing out that Siddaramaiah had also said Ravi in that one hour time had made about 40 odd calls to a woman IAS officer of his batch, he said, “These are the questions raised by the Chief Minister. Whom is he questioning? Has he taken the responsibility of CID officials?”
Alleging that Siddaramaiah was indulging in character assassination of Ravi, he said, “this is the reason why people of the state and the opposition are demanding a CBI inquiry.”
Meanwhile, government sources said a decision on CBI probe would be taken after receiving the preliminary report on the death of Ravi, known for being gutsy and honest in taking on the land and sand mafia and tax evaders.
The sources also said the transfer of Pronab Mohanty from the post of Inspector General of Police of Criminal Investigation Department, had been put on hold and he would only investigate the case.
In a surprise move just a day after handing over the case to CID, government had shifted Mohanty as IGP, Karnataka Lokayukta, a decision which the opposition had questioned.
Meanwhile, protests continued in Bengaluru and Tumakuru, the district from which Ravi hailed.
In Tumakuru, ABVP students blocked a national highway demanding a CBI investigation but were chased away by police who made a mild laticharge. The district also observed a bandh in response to a call given by various organisations.
Students of Agricultural University in Bengaluru, where Ravi graduated in agriculture, also marched in a procession seeking “justice” and a CBI probe.
The family of Ravi has alleged that there was “political pressure” and it was not suicide but a murder which should be probed only by CBI.
Several IAS officers in the state have also signed an online petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking inquiry by the central agency.