Bengaluru/Kolar: Protests marked by stray incidents of stone pelting erupted during a shutdown in Kolar district on Tuesday over the death of an IAS officer who allegedly committed suicide, even as police said they were probing his death from “every angle”.
Angry protesters in Kolar district where 35-year-old D K Ravi had taken on the sand mafia as Deputy Commissioner before being posted as Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes (Enforcement) in Bengaluru, also blocked a National Highway placing burning tyres before being chased away by police.
The house of local MLA in Kolar Varthur Prakash was stoned but police rushed and dispersed the protesters, police said.
Ravi, who had taken on the sand and land mafia, had allegedly committed suicide by hanging from a ceiling fan in his room at his official flat here yesterday after returning home from office in the morning.
The protesters, including some political leaders, are demanding a CBI probe into what they allege is the mysterious death of Ravi, who on his posting in Bengaluru had taken on the land mafia cracking down on them for tax evasion.
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 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.
Ravi, a Karnataka cadre officer of 2009 batch, who had taken on the sand mafia as Deputy Commissioner of Kolar district, had struck a chord with the people for being an honest and responsive officer.
He was posted as Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes in October from Kolar, which had then evoked strong protests from the local people.
Police have announced a special investigation team, headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-East) Rohini Katoch, who is a medical doctor by qualification, to probe the case.
Katoch is being assisted by forensic, medical and regular police teams specially selected for it.
Apprehending trouble, the Department of Pre-University Education has postponed the mathematics and geography examinations scheduled for today to March 28.
As the Legislative Assembly met for the day today, senior BJP leaders Jagadish Shettar and Suresh Kumar demanded a CBI probe into the death of Ravi.
Kumar, speaking to reporters earlier, said though he has a lot of respect for state investigation agencies, in this case, it has become mandatory that it should be handed over to CBI.
Former Chief Minister and Karnataka JDS President H D Kumaraswamy said the officer had taken some bold decisions against powerful and influential builders and sand mafia.
He also said that Ravi had taken on the sand mafia when he was Deputy Commissioner of Kolar District and even after his transfer to Bengaluru, he received threat calls.
Ravi also was instrumental in clearing encroachments on government land.
What tipped IAS officer DK Ravi over edge?
Bengaluru: The death of IAS officer D.K. Ravi has raised doubts whether the “tough officer” could not withstand the pressure and threats he reportedly received. Mr Ravi was known as a non-corrupt and upright officer, as he had cracked down on anti-social elements.
He shot to fame when he was the Deputy Commissioner of Kolar. He had almost put an end to sand mafia in the district and dealt with an iron hand against real estate sharks who had encroached on government lands. When he was transferred from Kolar and posted to Commercial Tax department in October, residents of Kolar took to the streets demanding the government take back the transfer order. It is said the government had transferred him owing to pressure from politicians and realtors.
Even after taking charge as Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes (Enforcement), he cracked down on major companies that were evading tax. In a few months, well-known firms were raided. Even an international bank was also raided.
It is said that his tough decisions made several “biggies” fume and he was reportedly receiving threat calls from underworld dons.
The police are probing whether any such threat could have led to the suicide. Police Commissioner M.N. Reddi said Mr Ravi had not filed any complaint that he had been receiving threat calls.
From lower middle class, Ravi was a role model
The unexpected death in the family has left the family members of IAS officer D.K. Ravi in grief. The family was proud that they had an upright IAS officer among them and had never imagined that he would meet such a sad end.
After being posted to the Commercial Tax department, Mr Ravi was given a flat at St. John’s Wood Apartment just a few months ago. Mr Ravi’s wife Kusuma’s father Hanumanthaiah and family stay in Mallathalli. The couple stayed in the apartment on working days and spent the weekends at Mr Hanumanthaiah’s house.
The flat was not yet completely furnished as they had moved in just a few months ago. The police, who are also investigating whether Mr Ravi ended his life due to a family dispute, are yet to question the family members.
Police Commissioner M.N. Reddi said the family is shocked and not in a frame of mind to respond to the queries.
Ms Kusuma and her father, who saw Mr Ravi’s body first, were in shock. Ms Kusuma was taken to a hospital as she was depressed and inconsolable.
“Ravi was from a lower middle class family and he was a role model to many other youngsters in the family. It is unbelievable that he left us so early,” a relative said.
Suicide or murder? Why would IAS officer DK Ravi hang himself?
Bengaluru: In a shocking incident, Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes (Enforcement) D. K. Ravi, who had headed several raids on top real estate firms recently, was found dead in his flat on Tuesday evening. Initial probe suggested that he hanged himself, while the police are investigating further to find out the reason behind his suicide.
Mr Ravi, a 2009-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, was found hanging at St John’s Wood Apartment on Tavarekere Main Road in Suddaguntepalya. The incident came to light when his wife Kusuma and other family members came home at 6.30 pm and found him hanging.
City Police Commissioner M. N. Reddi said that prima facie, it was a case of suicide. “Mr Ravi, who had gone to office in the morning, returned around 11.15 am. His wife, who was staying in her father’s house in Mallathalli, tried to contact him over phone. As he did not answer the calls, she contacted his office where she was told he had left the office in the morning. She, along with other family members, rushed to the apartment and opened the door using a duplicate key. They were shocked to find him hanging in the bedroom.”
He said, “Mr Ravi hanged himself from the ceiling fan, using a cloth.”
It was said that the officer, who was known for his clean image, was getting threat calls recently.
“Mr Ravi never approached the police and had not spoken about threat calls. But we will probe all angles. We will examine his phone calls and emails to know if he was getting such calls. Investigations are on to know the cases he was handling just before his suicide. We are also trying to ascertain whether any family dispute led him to take the extreme step,” Mr Reddi said.
Unconfirmed reports said that three strangers visited Mr Ravi at his flat before he was found dead. Mr Reddi said that it was pure ‘conjecture’. “The visitors’ log and CCTV footage are being examined. We have also spoken to his neighbours to collect information,” he said.
Forensic, sniffer dog and fingerprint squads collected evidence from the spot. A special team headed by DCP (South-East) Rohini Katoch has been formed to conduct the investigation.