On 16th March 2015, a Karnataka cadre from 2009 batch and an Indian Administrative Officer (IAS), 35 year old Doddakoppalu Kariyappa Ravi (DK Ravi) was found dead at his official residence under suspicious circumstances, in the Madivala locality of Bengaluru.
DK Ravi first came to limelight when he was Deputy Commissioner of Kolar district. An able and efficient administrator, he launched rampant raids against illegal sand mining and encroachment of government lands in the district. He was then transferred to Bengaluru by the government of Karnataka as Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes (Encroachment) in October 2014. Barely five months into this new tenure, he was found hanging from the ceiling fan of his residence. Police and medical reports have hinted death from committing suicide due to personal reasons as no suicide note has been found from the crime scene. An autopsy has been conducted but post mortem reports have yet to be finalized.
Following the death of DK Ravi, angry locals from Gulbarga and Kolar have taken to the streets protesting the nature of his death and demanding a probe into the case. Towns in Kolar district observed total bandh. In Bangalore, the protest was joined by lawyers, students and workers from different political parties. People took to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter outpouring their grief and anger at the loss of an honest IAS officer. Opposition in Karnataka Legislative Assembly demanded the state government to hand over the case to CBI, but was refused. Instead the state government has handed the case to CID, but there has been not much headway in the investigation.
In fact, the mysterious death of DK Ravi has snowballed into a major controversy. While the probe has to ascertain if the death of DK Ravi was suicide or murder, new information has come to the fore which could be relevant to the ongoing investigation. For instance, why did Ravi call up his batchmate, an IAS officer 44 times in a span of an hour? Ravi had also sent couple of text messages to the woman before he died. This woman IAS office was friends with Ravi before his marriage. His Facebook page also has few posts referring to the same woman.
Almost 5 days have passed and no progress has been made, following which the state government is contemplating of handing over the case to CBI. This decision will be made on 23rd March, 2015 in Assembly after CID submits its interim report. Meanwhile, parents of the deceased have also demanded a CBI probe behind their son’s death. They sat outside the Assembly in protests and threatened that if their demands were not met, they would commit suicide. They have been claiming that their son did not commit suicide, but was under tremendous political pressure and suspect foul play.
He was involved in conducting tax raids on major tax evading real estate firms. DK Ravi was planning raids on big commercial developers to unearth commercial tax evasion. An upright officer, DK Ravi had the guts to take on sand mafia and pledge his fight against wiping corruption in India. The government of India should ensure the safety of all government servants like DK Ravi who are most of the time target of the goons. If such upright officers are not protected, how will other bureaucrats follow in his footstep? Whether it was realty firms, land mafia or personal reasons that led to Ravi’s death, a thorough investigation by the Karnataka government would confirm that. But India is definitely not the home for honest bureaucrats, who have been at the receiving end of political corruption a number of times in the past.