Three weeks after whistleblower Karnataka Administrative Service (KAS) officer SP Mahantesh died, the police arrested a 23-year-old cashier of a co-operative bank — who allegedly gave out a contract for his murder — and his three accomplices.
Kumar, according to police, was involved in financial irregularities worth over R35 lakh in his three years of service. He had got the job on compassionate grounds after his father Srikanth Bhat – an employee of the bank — died of cancer.
When Mahantesh was appointed for the audit, Kumar discussed the idea of eliminating him with three friends -- Ayyappa, 24, Murali, 29 and Shivakumar, 28.
"A week before the assault, Mahantesh visted the place, his next visit was to be on May 15,” said police commissioner Jyotiprakash Mirji. Kumar decided to strike first. On May 15, he and his friends followed Mahantesh in a car and caught him near the CID headquarters.
“Attempting to scare him, they attacked him with blunt weapons, but one of the blows was too hard and Mahantesh died later,” Mirjhi said.
The CCB took over the case after the local police could not reach any conclusion even after 15 days of investigation.
Mahantesh’s death — the second of a state government official after an assault this month — created widespread outrage. On May 6, assistant conservator of forest Madan Naik had died in Dandeli in Uttara Kannada after being assaulted by tourists when he objected to them feeding crocodiles at a private resort.