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Sonia favours CBI probe into Karnataka IAS officer's death

Sonia favours CBI probe into Karnataka IAS officers death

New Delhi/Bengaluru: Congress president Sonia Gandhi Friday advised Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to hand over the probe of IAS officer D.K. Ravi's death to the CBI in view of the public demand.

"The party president has advised the chief minister through her political secretary (Ahmed Patel) to hand over the inquiry into the death of IAS officer Ravi to the CBI," party general secretary and in-charge of the party's state unit Digvijay Singh told the media in Delhi.

A Congress party source also confirmed that Gandhi's political secretary Patel has called on Siddaramaiah in the evening and conveyed her advice on transferring Ravi's death case to the country's premier investigating agency.

"As the budget session of the state legislature is on, the chief minister may announce the decision to seek a CBI inquiry into Ravi's death on the floor of the assembly on Monday," the party source told IANS in Bengaluru.

Ravi, 36, was found dead on March 16 in his official apartment in upscale southeast suburb of Bengaluru by his wife Kusuma.

Police prime facie termed Ravi's death as a suicide for personal reasons, as there was no injuries on his body, which was found hanging by a ceiling fan in his bedroom.

The state government has refused to hand over the sensational case to the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) even after the central government agreed to it on Thursday.

"We are ready for an CBI inquiry if the state government wants," union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told lawmakers in the Lok Sabha during the zero hour after BJP MPs from the state met him and demanded that the CBI should probe Ravi's death.

Earlier in the day in Bengaluru, Siddaramaiah briefed Governor Vajubhai Vala on the status of the investigation being conducted by the CID.

"I have briefed the governor on the developments in Ravi's death case and told him that the CID was investigation the case on priority," Siddaramaiah told reporters outside Raj Bhavan.

The chief minister met the governor a day after the opposition BJP and the JD-S lawmakers submitted a memorandum to the latter seeking his intervention in transferring the case to the CBI.

The 2009 batch officer was additional commissioner of state commercial tax in the city since December 2014 following his transfer as deputy commissioner of Kolar district, about 100 km away, where he earned the reputation of being an upright officer for reining in the sand and land mafias.

Though the budget session of the state legislative assembly was adjourned till Monday due to protest demonstration by the opposition BJP and JD-S lawmakers, both the parties on Friday reiterated their demand for a CBI probe into Ravi's death.

"The ruling Congress is trying to hush up truth behind the case by raking up Ravi's personal life and dragging a woman IAS officer who was his batchmate into the issue," Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) floor leader and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy told reporters here.

According to preliminary investigation into the case, which has been registered under section 174 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), hinting at suicide and not under 302 IPC (murder), Ravi had made several calls to the woman IAS officer hour before he hanged around 11:30 a.m and also sent messages to her through his mobile confessing his love for her and that "we'll meet in our next life".

As part of the CID investigation, the woman IAS officer concerned was summoned by Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee and collected her version on Ravi's calls, messages and e-mails.

"It's strong wish of the six crore people of the state, including Ravi's family that the case should be investigated by the CBI so that truth can come out," Kumaraswamy said.

Accusing the state government of selectively leaking information and planting stories in the media that Ravi was a victim of "love triangle" to mislead the public even before the CID submitted its interim report, Kumaraswamy wondered if the probe was limited to phone calls Ravi made to the woman officer before his death or even to the calls pertaining to raids he conducted recently in Bengaluru on tax defaulters and builders.

"It is also shocking to learn that the chief minister had told a local news channel that Ravi made 44 calls from his mobile to the woman officer on the day he died. How does he know? Is he the investigation officer? Who gave him such details when the probe is still underway?" Kumaraswamy said, citing media reports.

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