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IAS Ravi's death: K'taka govt gives in to demand for CBI probe

IAS Ravis death: Ktaka govt gives in to demand for CBI probe
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced the decision in the Assembly, saying it was being done "respecting the feelings of Ravi's parents and public".

There have been state-wide protests demanding a CBI probe into the death of 35-year old D K Ravi with Opposition gunning for the Chief Minister and even the Congress central leadership nudging him.

"I have understood the feeling of Ravi's parents. I have understood the feelings of people of this state. I respect the sentiments of the people and his parents...," said Siddaramaiah, as his government came under rising pressure each day on the issue which has triggered a political firestorm.

"The truth has to come out and those who have committed wrong have to be exposed and they have to be punished...," the chief minister said.

The decision comes a week after Ravi was found hanging from a ceiling fan at his flat here on last Monday.

The government had maintained that it was prima facie a case of suicide even as the Opposition questioning the "haste" in declaring it so, and handed over the case to Criminal Investigation Department.

"We believe in people's power. We believe in respecting public sentiments," said the Chief Minister, who said he had initially thought of placing the CID report on Monday but was not doing so following a High Court order.

At a special hearing on Sunday, the Karnataka High Court had restrained the state government from publishing an interim report of CID into the "unnatural death" of Ravi.

The family of Ravi, who had made a mark as a bold officer and taken on the sand and land mafia besides crackdown on tax evaders, had suspected foul play and demanded an inquiry by the central agency.

Ravi's family welcomed the government's decision and said they would cooperate with the CBI.

"Ravi is not a person who will commit suicide...CBI has to investigate from all the angles to bring out the truth. Our family and Ravi's family will completely cooperate with CBI," the officer's father-in-law Hanumantharayappa said.

The government had initially rejected demands for a CBI probe, maintaining a CID inquiry would do. Ravi's parents had staged a protest in front of the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat, seeking a CBI probe to get "justice" for him.

"We have respect for CBI also, we never called it 'chor bachao institution' 'Congress bachao institution'. Opposition, which had called them so, should be ashamed...those who have respect and belief in legal system will never say such things, they are doing politics," Siddaramaiah said.

"Respecting the feelings of Ravi's parents and public, I wanted to give status report, but High Court stayed it. So, I'm not placing that status report respecting the court order.

I have decided to hand over this investigation to CBI," the Chief Minister said.

Siddaramiah said the government was never "obstinate" that the matter should not be handed over to CBI, but only wanted CID to do its investigation and its status report was being awaited.

It was also a question of the morale of state officers, he said, adding that handing over the case to another agency would have affected it. "CBI is an independent investigative agency just as the CID is," he said.

He said there was no case where a probe had been handed over straightaway to CBI soon after an incident, without the state agency carrying out any inquiry.

"CBI officials are also those who go on deputation from here, IPS officers from different states work for CBI."

"We believe in it (CBI), in our system, in our legal system, in democracy, in our law... we have never disrespected our judicial and legal system. We believe in rule of law. We are very clear about it," he said.

In his reply in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah accused the Opposition of "playing politics" over the death of an an honest and efficient officer, a remark that set off protests by BJP and JDS members, who however later welcomed the CBI probe.

"No politics should be played in the matter of death. We don't believe in it. The Opposition should also not do it."

As the Assembly met, BJP and JDS members trooped in the well of the House raising slogans against the government accusing it of trying to hush up the case and demanding a CBI probe.

Both parties had stalled proceedings since last Tuesday, insisting on a CBI probe and were holding protests, besides seeking Governor Vajubhai Vala's intervention to advise the Chief Minister to entrust the case to the central agency.

BJP and JDS members staged a walkout taking exception to the chief minister's accusation that they were playing politics over the death of an IAS officer.

Speaking to reporters, Opposition BJP leader in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar said that on the contrary, it was the chief minister who was playing politics by not taking an immediate decision on CBI enquiry.

He also blamed Siddaramaiah for creating confusion in people's minds by delaying the decision on CBI probe.

"Instead of blaming the opposition for creating confusion, it is the chief minister who did it by delaying for seven days the CBI enquiry announcement in the case."

Shettar alleged that the chief minister and his government were buying time to damage the evidence by delaying announcing a CBI enquiry. "Yes, they bought time for damaging the evidence by taking a delayed decision on CBI inquiry," he said.
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