For a free and fair investigation

The indication from the government of Karnataka that >it would request the Central Bureau of Investigation to go into the suspicious circumstances of the death of the former Deputy Commissioner of Kolar district, D.K. Ravi, must be welcomed. This belated decision by the Congress-led government is an outcome of a huge public outcry with both the polity and civil society in the State playing a major role in pressuring the government to take the help of the CBI. After all, the police’s and the Criminal Investigation Department’s probes were hamstrung by the undue haste shown by the State government in declaring that Mr. Ravi’s death was a case of suicide, and by selective leaks from its officials ruling out foul play in the death. Meanwhile, the feeding frenzy of sections of the media, and the Opposition’s reliance on narrow-minded politicking have certainly not helped clarify the circumstances leading to Mr. Ravi’s death. Both the government and the Opposition have rushed to conclusions that suit their respective political positions. Yet, in a roundabout manner, the undue attention and political bickering raised the pitch in getting the State government to take the right step of instituting an unbiased inquiry.

Whether the CBI can do a better job of disentangling the complexities behind the death will not be known immediately, but the role of Mr. Ravi as someone who took on powerful vested interests in Kolar district must figure in the investigations. Such a free and fair investigation by the CBI will be helped by the fact that it would be unencumbered by the baggage of politics in Karnataka, unlike in the case of a probe by the State police and the CID. Mr. Ravi clearly seems to have made a lot of enemies out of powerful people in Kolar by taking a conscientious position in upholding the public interest as a civil servant. His legacy — during a 14-month tenure in Kolar — included passing strictures against encroachment of government land, and taking on powerful real estate developers who had close ties with political outfits in the district. It is hoped that the outrage in Karnataka is not limited to the sensationalism that has been whipped up around Mr. Ravi’s death. His passing away should prompt us to hold a mirror up to society and bring in scrutiny over the actions of these vested interests while encouraging other civil servants to be as discerning and public-spirited as Mr. Ravi was. Only this would be a true tribute to the legacy left behind by the civil servant.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 8:07:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-on-dk-ravis-death-for-a-free-and-fair-investigation/article7016167.ece

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