Handling of IAS officer's death: Arrogance of bad PR skills

Even as investigators are on the verge of concluding that the death of IAS officer D K Ravi was due to personal reasons, there is something very strange in the manner in which this case was handled.

The investigation into this case is under the Criminal Investigation Department, but the statements that have been made right from the Commissioner of Police to the Chief Minister are quite startling and they have only themselves to blame for giving out hurried conclusions.

DK Ravi's death handled poorly

The Commissioner of Bengaluru City, M N Reddi who was one of the first to visit the residence of D K Ravi was quick to say that it was prima facie a case of suicide.

An equally hurried reaction was adopted by Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah and Home Minister K George who not only said that it was a case of suicide due to personal reasons, but also mentioned that it was at the behest of Ravi's father in law that he was transferred from Kolar to Bangalore.

Commissioner concluded too soon

Everyone in Karnataka knew that the death of an officer like D K Ravi was going evoke strong public reactions. His stint as Deputy Commissioner of Kolar had propelled him to fame and made him a hero. While this being the case, was it right on part of the commissioner to give out reasons so soon for the death?

With all due to respect to M N Reddi and his vast experience, many believe that he could have waited a while before coming to any sort of conclusion.

Reddi who visited the spot knew that it was a case of suicide from the very look at the scene. He looked into the mobile phone belonging to the officer and some of the reasons were clear from the records on it.

Reddi may have said that prima facie it looks like a case of suicide which made everyone go into a frenzy questioning the teething hurry of the commissioner to come to a conclusion. Many feel that Reddi could have just said that they were probing into the matter and would reveal the reasons soon.

Siddaramaiah concluded too soon

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah too had come to a conclusion too soon. He was under pressure from the opposition to come out with the reasons. However the CM went ahead and said that it was suicide due to personal reasons and was also quick to add that the probe is still on.

The CM has every right to deny investigation details to the Assembly and the public especially when it at a preliminary stage. The police are looking into it is all the CM had to say. Not just the Chief Minister, the Home Minister K George too followed in his foot steps and blurted out the investigation details on the floor of the house and also to the media a little too soon.

Foot in the mouth disease

One fails to understand the logic of another statement made by the Chief Minister where he decided to tell everyone that the transfer of Ravi from Kolar to Bengaluru was at the behest of his father in law Hanumanthrayappa.

The statement by the CM reflects very poorly on the system and literally admits that transfers can be done at the behest of family members.

What was the CM trying to imply? Was he trying to say that he succumbed to pressure from the father in law or was he trying to suggest that in Karnataka transfers are done on the basis of recommendations?

The transfer of the CID chief

Transfers are a routine affair in any department. In fact it was the Inspector general of police Pronab Mohanty who sought a posting in the Lokayukta. The government had considered his request and given him the transfer to the Lokayukta.

However the timing of the transfer was extremely surprising. The transfer order came into effect a day after the death of D K Ravi which obviously raised many eyebrows. The government cannot get away by saying it is a routine transfer even if that is just the case.

When an officer in charge of the probe is transferred just as he commences an investigation into a high profile case, it generally raises a doubt and this could have well been avoided. The government however yesterday took some measures and put his transfer on hold while stating that he would be relieved from the CID only after he submits a preliminary report into the investigations.

Bad PR skills or plain arrogance

All these statements and actions have left one to wonder whether the handling by the Karnataka government of this case is a case of bad PR skills or plain arrogance. The manner in which statements have been made and actions been taken are an indicator that there was no sensitivity in the approach.

The sentiments of the people and the various questions that were raised following the death of the officer did not seem to matter to the government.

What ever the reason may be for the death of the officer, the government ought to have exercised some restraint and also handled the entire issue better. After all the people have been raising doubts- the same people who voted the government to power.

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