The Karnataka government on Friday handed over to CID the investigation into alleged suicide of Mangaluru DySP M K Ganapathy which has triggered a storm with the police official in his pre-death declaration accusing a senior minister and two top officials of harassing him.
Facing the Opposition heat with two senior police officials allegedly committing suicide within a week, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced the CID probe and warned of action against the seniors accused of harassing Ganapathy.
"We have handed over this case to the CID. After the CID submits its investigation report, we will take appropriate action," Siddaramaiah said in Bengaluru, as BJP demanded resignation of Minister for Bengaluru Development K J George, who earlier held the Home portfolio, and was named by Ganapathy.
George, however, denied any connection with the police officer, whose body was yesterday found hanging from the ceiling fan in a room at a lodge in Madikeri.
Three days ago, the body of DySP of Chikkamagaluru sub-division Kallappa Handibag (35), accused of kidnapping a person for ransom, was also found hanging in his father-in- law's home at Murgod in Belagavi district.
Hours before taking the extreme step, in an interview to a local news channel in Madikeri, Ganapathy had said, "I am disappointed with transfers happening in police department, which is done on caste consideration. Top officials should not do this. It's not good. It is wrong. Therefore, I am coming out openly before the media," he had said.
Ganapathy had also said, "If anything happens to me hereafter, they are responsible. Who? (police officials) A M Prasad (IG-Intelligence) and Pranab Mohanty (IGP-Lokayukta), and also former Home Minister George..."
Demanding a CBI inquiry into the incident, BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa said in New Delhi that George should be dropped as minister immediately.
Siddaramaiah dismissed the BJP demand, saying it has no moral right to do so.
Coming in the line of Opposition fire over Ganapathy's charge against him, George said, "I have no connection with him. I have no personal issue with him. I never harassed him.
Even in the TV interview he only mentioned in the last K J George Home Minister."
A delegation of BJP leaders led by Yeddyurappa met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi seeking his intervention to impress upon the state government to hand over the case to CBI, party sources said.
BJP, led by former Speaker K G Bopaiah, held a protest in Kodagu, while the party under the leadership of former Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka staged demonstrations here demanding action against officials named and resignation of George.
Alleging that honest officials were unable to work in the state, JD(S) leaders H D Deve Gowda and H D Kumaraswamy sought George's resignation and action against officials named by Ganapathy.
"Let BJP produce proof or evidence that I had harassed the official. How can one resign on a mere allegation? If they have proof, let them come out with it. There should be some truth before I give my resignation," George said.
Home Minister G Parameshwara said, "He has named ADGP Prasad pointing out that something had happened when he worked with him eight years ago." He had also named Mohanty and George.
"We cannot say anything without inquiry," he said, adding, Ganapathy had never got in touch with him or spoken to him.
IGP Southern Range B K Singh said no death note was found and a search of the room where he stayed yielded two empty cartridges. Some medical treatment slips were also found.
He said Ganapathy's father had stated in a complaint that his son "was in depression due to family problem".
A case of unnatural death had been registered under CrPC section 174, he added.
Ganapathy's wife Pavana said, "We only know that he had pressure from the department. He has said whatever he had to.
We don't know anything, he used to say same things to us often."
The DySP's brother Thammaiah, also a senior police official, said he was under "severe depression" and was unable to handle it. He was undergoing treatment by his doctor friend in Mangaluru.
"Please don't compare with other cases, he was under severe depression... His allegations are imaginary... I'm not trying to defend anybody. No one from the department had harassed him. Not even one promotion or increment was delayed to him," he said, adding, he was not speaking under pressure from government or senior officials.
"All our batchmates knew that Ganapathy was under depression," he claimed.
Ganapathy belonging to the 1991 batch was a former sportsman and entered service through the sports quota.
Prior to the alleged suicides by two DySPs, the Siddaramaiah government was hit by another controversy with DySP Anupama Shenoy in Ballari district resigning from her post, alleging that the then in-charge minister P T Parameshwar Naik was interfering in her work.
Naik was dropped from the ministry in the recent major reshuffle.
The Siddaramaiah government faced the first major storm in March last year when senior IAS official D K Ravi allegedly committed suicide under mysterious circumstances, with the public and Opposition outrage forcing the government to hand over the case to CBI.