Amid the hue and cry over the death of IAS officer D K Ravi which has prompted the public and the opposition parties to demand for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the case, there seems to be differences of opinion in the IAS Officers’ Association on demanding CBI probe.
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A set of senior officials Citizen Matters spoke to said that the IAS Officers’ Association in its central committee meeting on March 17th did not pass a resolution to demand the State government to hand over the case to CBI. “In the meeting it was decided to wait for two-three days for the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to submit its preliminary report and then decide on demanding for CBI probe,” said Harsh Gupta, senior IAS officer and Secretary, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Department.
However, an official who did not wish to be named said that the IAS officers were divided on their views on demanding for CBI Inquiry into Ravi’s death. While the office-bearers of the Association decided to wait and watch, a few IAS officers including Harsh Gupta, Madan Gopal, Additional Chief Secretary, Forest, Environment and Ecology Department, Rashmi V Mahesh, Director General, Administrative Training Institute and Pankaj Kumar Pandey, Managing Director, BESCOM pressed for the need to demand for CBI probe.
In fact, several of them including Madan Gopal, Rashmi Mahesh and Pankaj Pandey have signed the online petition appealing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hand over the death case to Central Bureau of Investigation. They all have openly urged for the CBI probe to build confidence among public who are under the impression that the officer must have died due to professional reasons. In fact, the officers have also decided to write to the Prime Minister in their personal capacity requesting a CBI inquiry into the case.
Madan Gopal explained to Citizen Matters that he personally feels the need to hand over the death case to the CBI to overthrow the assumptions and fears that people have developed over the IAS officer’s death. “I and some other colleagues have signed the change.org petition and we are hopeful that 1,60,000 signatures will compel the government to transfer the case to CBI. More importantly, attempts of character assassination of deceased the officer have begun even before the preliminary investigation report is out. It is not that we do not have faith in the State police who are our own colleagues. But then, there are rumours of some lobby having worked against D K Ravi and the state police might be influenced during the investigation process, due to which we demand CBI inquiry,” he said.
Another officer Harsh Gupta too felt the need for a CBI inquiry to build confidence among the public who are shocked over the death of the officer. “There are less chances of the investigation getting influenced if it is done by the CID, because it is their own colleague who has died. Outcome of the investigation will be the same whether it is conducted by the CBI or CID and the truth will remain the same. We do not want to discourage our colleagues in the police department by considering them as inefficient to handle the case. But, by taking into account the public outcry and disbelief on the entire episode, the case should be handed over to the CBI to ensure that the doubts do not persist in their mind,” he said.
Harsh Gupta who has worked in the Commercial Taxes department in the past, agreed that there was pressure from various quarters during raids to the offices of tax evaders and the job was risky. However, he said that there were no incidents the officials receiving direct threat calls.
P Manivannan, Managing Director, Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board too has expressed his opinion in social network site on the issue. A post on his Facebook wall reads: “Even after three days of D K Ravi’s unnatural death, the intensity of the shock and sadness refuses to go away. Why did he die? How did he die? These are questions that are best left to the Police and Courts. I would not want to hazard a guess. But, yes, one hopes that the investigation happens with utmost efficiency and sincerity, and the reasons for the death are disclosed to the public, who love and adore him so much!”
Further, he continues and questions: “Who should do the investigation? The state CID or the CBI? To me, it doesn’t make much difference except that, one works under the state and another under the center. The officers are the same! Police officers from different states get posted in CBI. Indeed the present Additional director of CBI, R K Dutta is a police officer of Karnataka cadre. So, there is not much difference between CID and CBI. If in one case the CBI does better, in another case, the CID may do a better job.”
And then he explains why handing over the case to CBI is important. “However, in this case, for whatever reason, there seem to be more trust among the public on the CBI. In such circumstances, nothing shall prevent anybody from handing it over to the CBI.”
DK Ravi was found hanging in his apartment in Koramangala on March 16th 2015. MN Reddi, City Police Commissioner, had ruled out foul play and said the case prima facie (on the first look) appeared to be a suicide. However, the fearless officer that he was, D K Ravi had raided many powerful builders while in the Commercial Taxes Department. Earlier he had taken on powerful sand mafia in Kolar. All these led to rumours that the death might be a case of murder by vested interests. In this background, public and the opposition parties demanded a CBI probe, as everyone thought CID would be influenced by the State government.
The government has been reiterating that the preliminary investigation has revealed that Ravi committed suicide due to personal reasons. The police claim to be having strong proof of this. According to reports, the last call by the deceased officer was made to a woman officer who was his IAS batchmate. This is expected to reveal more details about the mysterious death in the coming days.
Home Minister K J George has denied the rumours that his firm, Embassy Golflinks, was raided by D K Ravi. Despite the strong demand, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has refused to hand over the case to the CBI.