Former Deputy Commissioner of Bengaluru Urban district BM Vijay Shankar, who ended his life at his residence in Bengaluru, had reportedly seemed depressed after his involvement in the I, Monetary Advisory (IMA) scam hit the news in June 2019. He was in judicial custody for two months before procuring conditional bail. Vijay Shankar was accused of accepting bribes amounting to Rs 2.5 crore to submit a report in favour of IMA founder Mohammed Mansoor Khan in order to allegedly turn a blind eye to IMA and its activities. The CBI had registered an FIR against the IAS officer in June last year.
Police sources say that Vijay Shankar, who was promoted from Karnataka Administrative Service to IAS, had been severely depressed due to the CBI's investigation into the alleged bribe he had taken from IMA founder Mohameed Mansoor Khan. He has served in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and was the district collector for Bengaluru City, when the IMA scam broke out.
"He seems to have been having trouble maintaining a good relationship with his family and friends after news that he took a Rs 2.5 crore bribe in connection with the IMA scam. He was undergoing therapy as he was depressed and his family say that he had kept to himself, and often seemed sad in the last two months," a senior police officer said.
Soon after his involvement in the IMA scam worth Rs 2,000 crore, became known, he was arrested and sent to judicial custody. After he got out on bail in September 2019, he was reportedly depressed as he had been suspended from his duties. Police sources said that Vijay Shankar had gone for a work meeting on Tuesday morning as he was recently reinstated as the Additional Mission Director, Sakala. After his meeting, he went home and allegedly remained in his room. "His family members said it was not uncommon for him to keep to himself since his involvement in the scam was known," the police officer added.
At around 8 pm on Tuesday, Vijay Shankar's wife, who had just returned home, reportedly knocked she opened the door to their bedroom when she found that he had taken his life, said sources.
"The time of death could be between 7 and 7.15 pm. He is survived by his wife and two children. In January this year, CBI had asked the state government to grant permission to prosecute Vijay Shankar. The government had given permission to prosecute two IPS officers so far and these permissions had not come through. We have reason to believe that the state government was in the process of handling the paper work for the permission and that it could have been the trigger," the senior police official added. In August 2019, the CBI filed a preliminary chargesheet in the IMA scam. However, it had not mentioned Vijay Shankar's name in it as the agency had not procured permission from the government to prosecute him yet.
Police officials said that he had not left a death note behind and that they are still trying to figure out the motive for his suicide. Police also said that Vijay Shankar had skipped two summons for interrogation issued by the CBI this month.
If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families.
State health department's suicide helpline: 104
Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)
Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930
Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584
Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222
Maithri: 0484 2540530
Chaithram: 0484 2361161
Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.
State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104
Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200
SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 am and 7 pm)
Aasara offers support to individuals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.
24x7 Helpline: 9820466726
Click here for working helplines across India.