Towards the end of 2014, a man was given a transfer order. He had stirred up a legal and political hornet’s nest for many. After much pressure, the authorities decided to wash their hands off this troublesome officer. But a whole district rallied against this move! They observed a day’s bandh, staged a dharna and launched a postcard campaign to no avail. The man they tried to prevent being transferred, however, didn’t stop what he was doing. He was raising a storm while playing his new role. Life is never as fortunate as is seen in the movies. This time he was not transferred to any other physical place on India’s map. Under mysterious circumstances, this fighter was quelled once and for all. What did this dangerous man do to garner so much public support? Why has he been a pain for the authorities? Who was he?
This is an article in our tribute to the hero on the occasion of his birth anniversary on the 10th of June
Doddakoppalu Kariyappa Ravi, known as D. K. Ravi or Ravi in short, was an IAS officer of the 2009 batch. Hailing from a humble agricultural family and with a post graduate degree in nematology, Ravi clinched the 34th rank in the 2008 civil services exam. After working as the Assistant Commissioner in Gulbarga (August 2011 – December 2012), he began serving as the Deputy Commissioner of Kolar district in August 2013.
As an upright IAS officer of high principles, Ravi’s moves were concentrated towards protecting the Government’s land from illegal encroachment. Ravi, also known as “demolition man” in Kolar, pulled down several structures illegally raised on encroached lands of the Goverment. To put an end to the burgeoning number of land disputes in the district, Ravi started “Revenue Adalats” and “Podi Adalats” as fast track methods. His iron fisted attitude against the sand mafia is a legend in itself. As an inspiring personality, he regularly taught for those preparing for the Civil Services Examinations and subsequently helped several of his students to attain success. In October 2014, just over a year of outstanding service in Kolar, the heightening pressure from various corners forced the Government to transfer this workaholic. We can only weakly surmise that the Government wanted the people of Bangalore to benefit from Ravi’s incessant efforts to perform his duties perfectly.
As the Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes in Bangalore, Ravi set his target to collect evaded tax of Rs. 1000 crores from the top 50 tax evading defaulters. His raids on high power businessmen are truly the stuff that bards sing songs on. Collecting close to Rs. 138 crores within the first two weeks after joining and eventually Rs. 400 crores from housing societies, Ravi was inching close to realising his target within the first 6 months of his posting. Obviously, his life was being threatened by those who lost quite a lot to this juggernaut.
His phenomenal speed was halted when his stars or truly his enemies were all aligned against him. On March 16th this year, Ravi was found hanging at his Koramangala residence in Bangalore using his wife’s saree.
On March 17th, pandemonium prevailed. People took to the streets, infuriated by Ravi’s untimely death. Services in several towns in Kolar observed a total bandh. Civilians of Kolar and Bangalore of all backgrounds came out in protest demanding a probe into his death. Social media was full of anger and resentment of the well-wishers and supporters of Ravi. After the Opposition’s strong vocalisation in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, a CID investigation was announced by the Government.
The investigation started with the error of counting 2 calls made by Ravi to his fellow female officer as 44 calls and brand Ravi as a depressed “lovelorn” man. A few days later, Ravi’s father-in-law, Hanumantharayappa, claimed that the CID deleted an important part of the CCTV footage and hence, destroyed vital evidence. With no significant progress made by the CID, the Karnataka Government agreed to hand over the case to the CBI. Initial investigations of the CBI pointed towards foul play involved in Ravi’s death. But 2 months after taking up the case, the CBI’s autopsy report of Ravi’s exhumed body pointed towards suicide. Moreover, the CBI’s investigation revealed that Ravi was involved in an “improper attempt” to acquire land for a real estate project. Ravi was apparently deeply involved in the project along with several of his friends and family. This strongly tipped the suspicion towards Ravi’s death being a case of suicide due to personal reasons. Continuing with the investigations, the CBI is still questioning and snooping around for the cause of Ravi’s death. The CBI is still approaching the cause of death from 3 different directions – personal reasons, property related pressure or external threat related pressure.