He had tracked irregular land allotments by BEML Coop. Society, among others
Five days after a murderous attack by unknown assailants in the heart of Bangalore, S.P. Mahantesh, 48, an auditor and whistleblower on irregular land allotments in the State, died of his injuries.
Doctors at the private hospital where he was treated said his heart stopped beating at 5.30 a.m. on Sunday.
Mahantesh is survived by his wife, two children and ailing parents.
Known as an honest officer in a department plagued by allegations of corruption and land scams, Mahantesh, a Karnataka Administrative Service officer and Deputy Director of Cooperative Audit, was a crucial source for some of the stories that The Hindu published in recent months on irregularities in housing societies.
Less than a fortnight ago, he facilitated (for The Hindu) the release of a copy of the audit report of the controversial BEML Employees' Cooperative Society, which is accused of making improper land allotments to several influential persons.
Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who visited the grieving family members, assured them that the culprits would be arrested soon. He did not, however, announce any compensation.
Mahantesh's death comes as a setback to the police who have been struggling for a breakthrough for the want of an eyewitness. “Had it been possible to revive him, he could have given us vital clues,” DCP (Central Division) B.R. Ravikanthe Gowda told reporters.
Two more teams
He said two more special teams had been formed to solve the case, besides the two teams that had been formed earlier. “We are working from multiple angles at the moment. Things are open ended.”
In fact, on the night of May 15 when he was attacked, Mahantesh was returning after an audit-related meeting with the office-bearers of the Sahakarnagar Credit Cooperative Society, his colleagues revealed.
“He was not auditing any high-profile society. The irregularities in these societies were not of such a nature or scale as to motivate somebody to kill him,” Mr. Ravikanthe Gowda said.
Mahantesh's brother-in-law, Nagarudrappa, expressed outrage at some media reports that had quoted anonymous police sources as saying the attack was motivated by personal enmity. “We are convinced that he was attacked for the good work he was doing.”