New Delhi/Bengaluru, March 19:
The central government is ready to ask the CBI to investigate the death of IAS officer D.K. Ravi if the Karnataka government agrees to it, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told parliament on Thursday.
“We are ready for a CBI inquiry if the state government wants,” Rajnath Singh told members in the Lok Sabha during the zero hour after BJP members from Karnataka met him and demanded that the premier investigation agency should probe Ravi’s death.
The home minister said a few senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers from the state also sought an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the mysterious death of the 36-year-old 2009 batch officer, who was working as additional commissioner of the state commercial tax department in Bengaluru.
“I have spoken to the Karnataka chief minister (Siddaramaiah), who said he would send a detailed report to me within a couple of days,” Rajnath Singh said.
“If the state government wants (a CBI probe), then as soon as I get a representation from it, we will be ready for a CBI inquiry,” he said.
Ravi was found dead on March 16 in his official apartment by his wife Kusuma.
Police prime facie termed the death as suicide as there were no external injuries on the body, which was found hanging by a ceiling fan in the officer’s bedroom.
Rejecting the demand for CBI probe by opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal-Secular, Ravi’s family and the public, the Congress government in the state ordered a probe by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
Pralhad Joshi, BJP’s Lok Sabha member from Dharwad, told reporters outside parliament that he met Rajnath Singh along with other MPs from the state and apprised the home minister of the situation and how people were being treated in the state.
“The CID works under the Karnataka home minister (K.J. George) against whom fingers are being raised,” Joshi said after staging a protest with other MPs from the state near the Mahatma Gandhi statute in the parliament complex.
Former chief minister and Lok Sabha member from Shivamoga B.S. Yeddyurappa said the BJP would seek permission from Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to raise the issue in the Lok Sabha.
“Why is the Congress government in the state hesitating to refer the case to the CBI when Ravi’s parents have also sought a probe by the central agency?” Yeddurappa asked.
In Bengaluru, the legislative assembly sitting was adjourned till Monday amid shouting and sloganeering by opposition lawmakers against the government for not allowing a CBI probe into Ravi’s death.
As soon as the budget session commenced, opposition BJP and JD-S members gathered near the speaker’s podium and pressed for a CBI inquiry.
The ruling Congress maintained that the CID probe was underway to find out if Ravi’s death was suicide or caused by other means.
Later, BJP and JD-S members submitted a memorandum to Governor Vajubhai Vala at Raj Bhavan, seeking his intervention for handing over the case to the CBI.
Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists held a protest in the Karnataka capital during the day, demanding a CBI probe into Ravi’s mysterious death. They also clashed with police when they were not allowed to march towards Vidhana Soudha.
Protests also took place at Kolar and Tumakuru against the state government for not allowing a CBI probe.
Ravi, who hailed from Tumakuru district, was deputy commissioner of Kolar in 2013-14 where he became popular for taking action against sand and land mafias. IANS