Mysuru: A month after mess in-charge at the Administrative Training Institute (ATI), H. Venkatesh, was found dead, the Forensic Science Lab and histopathology reports have concluded that he had drowned and was neither poisoned nor under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Disclosing the contents of the reports, DCP Rajanna said no injuries were found on the body. “The security guard reportedly did not see anyone other than Venkatesh going near the water tank. And he also did not hear him scream. So prima facie, it looks like suicide. But we are continuing with the investigation,” the officer added.
The mess in-charge had left home at around 6 am on October 15 for the ATI campus and was reportedly seen by ATI security guards at around 6.30 am.
He was found dead in the water tank next to the Kabini block at around 8.30 am the same day. ATI director general, Rashmi V Mahesh, who was assaulted later in the day when she arrived to condole his death, has alleged that it was a pre-meditated attack intended to divert attention from her charges of corruption against her predecessor, Amita Prasad.
In her report to the Chief Secretary on October 15, she said that Venkatesh had helped her understand the intricacies of the Bharani Catering Contract given for running the ATI mess, and had drawn her attention to many of the irregularities in the institute.
“It is very unfortunate that an official who was sincere and against whom no action had been taken has become a victim of vested interests,” she regretted.
The ATI staff too have in a memorandum to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah called for a CBI investigation to establish if the mess in-charge had committed suicide or was murdered.
‘We didn’t intend to protest’
In an admission which could provide a new twist to the row over what triggered the attack on Rashmi Mahesh, senior IAS officer and Director General, Administrative Training Institute (ATI), Manjula, widow of mess in-charge H. Venkatesh, said her husband complained about stress but never blamed his boss.
With tears welling up in her eyes, she told Deccan Chronicle: “My husband always complained that he was under stress, but he never named Ms Rashmi as the cause for it.” She, however, declined to comment on whether it was right on the part of those who gathered at ATI on hearing about the death of her husband to attack the Director General.
She said it was her idea to take the body of her husband to ATI as she wanted all staff members to pay homage to the man who served the institute for 17 years, but by the time the grieving family arrived along with the body a mob had gathered at the spot. “We were only few members. We did not have any intention to protest or attack the Director General at ATI. Five of our family members are being accused by the police of joining the mob in the attack, including my brother-in-law Shivaraj and my sister Kamala. They were arrested and released on bail on Monday. Two of my brothers, and aunt Sarsamma are on anticipatory bail,” she added.
The distraught family Manjula, her 23 year-old son (an engineering graduate) and 19 year-old daughter (an engineering student) want to move out of Mysuru. They have requested the Director General to use her good offices to secure them quarters in Bengaluru.