Some 9 months ago, Kolar, the Goldmine city, was suffering a fate similar to her bigger neighbor and the state capital, Bangalore. Kolar was full of garbage everywhere despite a desperate hunt by the city administration for landfills as the surrounding villages steadfastly refused to budge in their determination to keep the garbage dumps away from their homes. If one visits Kolar today, one would be completely surprised at the garbage-free Swachh model city that stares back at us. How did such a miraculous transformation occur so quickly? There are some important lessons for Modi’s Swachh Bharat campaign that emerge from Kolar, courtesy, Ex Commissioner D.K. Ravi, IAS… the late D.K Ravi that is.
The Late D.K. Ravi’s almost messianic legacy of “solid waste management by segregation at the source” is something that all of India should be proud of. No wonder he was a hero for the average citizenry of Kolar who protested vehemently when he was transferred by the state government late last year because he had taken on the powerful sand mafia in the district. This is how Congress functions. Congress governments, instead of rewarding visionary, honest bureaucrats, manages to transfer them to keep the mafia happy.
The same D.K. Ravi who was now posted to Bangalore as the additional commissioner of the Commercial Taxes department allegedly ‘committed suicide’ yesterday under mysterious circumstances. Just why would an honest, visionary, full-of-life, IAS officer, who was constantly fighting and changing the system of governance suddenly decide one fine day to commit suicide? It becomes especially more suspicious since, as commercial tax commissioner, Ravi had targeted some high profile real estate companies like Nitesh Estates Pvt. Ltd, Rajesh Exports Limited and even the Embassy Group, which has direct connections with Home minister K.J. George and is already mired in a major controversy regarding a Defence land grab case. In fact, Ravi’s efforts had yielded an extra 130 Cr rupees to the state exchequer in just 4 months from these various realty companies.
Just 3 hours after D.K Ravi’s body was found hanging in his apartment, the police commissioner of Bangalore, M.N. Reddi concluded categorically to various TV channels, “Prima facie there is no reason for us to believe that this is anything but a suicide”. When asked if there was any suicide note left behind (the gold standard of almost 99% of all suicides), the commissioner answered in the negative. M.N. Reddi is the same police commissioner who has failed to crack the castle-street terror bombing case even after almost 3 months.
The sheer alacrity and speed with which the police commissioner concluded that it was a suicide tells us how the state is likely to conduct the investigations. It will be mostly treated as an “open-and-shut” case despite of the fact that thousands of his fans, his friends, his colleagues and former college mates are all vouching on dozens of TV channels that Ravi was a person least likely to commit suicide. Furthermore, not just ordinary common people, but even a public representative like Independent MLA from Mulabagal (Kolar district) has categorically said this on record after visiting the scene of crime yesterday that “the ambience in his room suggests that there has been some foul play”!
This is not just a death of a young upright IAS officer, no it can never be! A poor rural boy who came from an agricultural background and passed the coveted civil services exam despite all the odds stacked against him only to bloom as a visionary and honest administrator has lost his life simply because he chose to be honest. What kind of moral science lesson does this incident teach others? That it is better not to be honest, that the system automatically incentivizes corruption and punishes honesty… a punishment that includes death!
A secular media obsessed with a village church in Hisar and Delhi cops snooping about Rahul Gandhi’s hair colour will neither have the time nor the moral courage to pursue D.K. Ravi’s daylight murder because of the powerful players involved in the incident. For instance, India’s largest newspaper, Times of India did not even have the courage to mention in today’s two page report that one of the realty companies that Ravi raided was Nitesh Estates Limited because the said company is one of the big advertisers in the newspaper. What is more, TOI ambiguously mentions in its report that Ravi “had also raided many firms belonging to powerful politicians”!
A newspaper cannot even dare to print Karnataka Home Minister K.J. George’s name in conjunction with a company in its report of the murder of an honest IAS officer – this is the status of Indian media! I hang my head in shame and get on with my daily life, after all its just another murder/suicide, so what if it is honesty that has died an ignominious death today?