The sudden death of DK Ravi (34), an IAS officer who was working as additional commissioner of Commercial Tax (Enforcement) in March this year had lead to much anger and protests all over Karnataka.
The case that was initially investigated by the state CID, was handed over to the CBI following relentless protest by the opposition in the Karnataka assembly. But according to multiple reports, it now seems that the CBI has concluded that the officer had committed suicide, a theory that the Karnataka government had suggested and earned a lot of ire for.
Both English and vernacular media had lead campaigns for justice for the honest officer who was speculated to have been murdered for his honest work. Dinesh Gundu Rao, minister for Food and Civil Supplies, says that CBI’s findings should force the media and general public to introspect.
“The way the coverage panned out shows how many media houses don’t bother going into actual facts, but pre-judge something and blame ministers,” he told The News Minute.
Karnataka Home Minister KJ George’s name had been dragged into the mess repeatedly with allegations that DK Ravi was investigating real estate firms in which the minister had an interest in. With conspiracy theories being dished out on a regular basis, the protests had grown in the state.
“There was such a build up to project the death as anything but suicide. No one was willing to believe for even a second that he could have committed suicide,” Rao said.
According to Rao, the media coverage and subsequent public anger on the streets and on social media is fit for a case study. “Look at how media and speculative discussions can affect how people think or even control the way people think.
There should be an impartial discussion on how media can get carried away without getting into who is right and wrong. The DK Ravi death coverage clearly shows how people’s minds can be manipulated,” he said.
But can the media be blamed entirely? Many Karnataka police officers were spreading canards about the officer, some of the stories so full of malice that the media disbelieved every alternate theory.
“Leaks started coming because there were theories of murder being propagated. To counter those stories, some officers started leaking other aspects of the probe. I don’t think any of the media projected even the possibility that it could be suicide, Rao said justifying the police leaks.
Dinesh Gundo Rao insists that in cases like these, the media should be rational and report all possibilities without sticking to the most sensational one.