Demands for a CBI probe into the death of IAS officer DK Ravi disrupted proceedings in Parliament on Thursday, even as opposition parties in Karnataka stuck to their guns and protests took violent turn in parts of the state.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh said the central government is ready for a Central Bureau on Investigation (CBI) inquiry into Ravi's death if the state government wants.
The home minister said: "I have spoken with the Karnataka chief minister and he has said he will send a detailed report within a couple of days".
"If the state government wants (CBI probe), then as soon as I get a representation from them, we will be ready for a CBI inquiry".
Siddaramaiah, who has till now said no to the demand for a CBI probe from various quarters, has called a cabinet meet shortly and a decision whether the case be referred to CBI may be taken.
Making an intervention during zero hour in Lok Sabha, Singh said a delegation of Parliament members met him and demanded that a CBI inquiry be initiated into the incident.
"Some senior IAS officers have also raised this demand," he said.
The issue was raised in Lok Sabha by BJP member Prahlad Joshi, who is from Karnataka.
Joshi said: "We met Rajnath Singh to apprise him of the situation and how people are been treated there (Karnataka)".
"I demand a CBI inquiry," he said, adding that the parents of the officer are also demanding it.
"The CID works under home minister of Karnataka against whom fingers are being raised," Joshi said.
Joshi's comments led to a protest by Congress members in the house. Amid the uproar, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House briefly for 15 minutes.
In Karnataka, opposition parties continued their dharna for the third day in the state assembly demanding a CBI probe into the mysterious death of the upright IAS officer, forcing its adjournment till March 23.
As the assembly met, BJP and JD(S) members raised slogans insisting on a CBI probe, as government remained unrelenting in its stand that CID was competent enough to do it.
Higher education minister RV Deshpande said the government would ensure a "transparent" inquiry into the death Ravi, who was found hanging from a ceiling fan at a room in his apartment on Monday evening.
The state government has maintained that it was prima facie a case of suicide, but the opposition parties and the family of the IAS officer have refused to accept the theory and are seeking a probe by CBI.
Opposition BJP leader Jagadish Shettar said the House was not in order but as the ruckus continued, Speaker Kagodu Thimappa abruptly announced adjournment of the House till Monday.
Joining hands, Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs staged a dharna in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue near Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat, holding placards and shouting slogans demanding a CBI probe.
They also led a protest march to the governor house demanding CBI probe into IAS officer's death.
"We are going to request the governor to convince this government to hand over this case to CBI," said JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy.
"Some senior IAS officers had directly requested the PM and the President to interfere," Kumaraswamy added.
Several Indian Administrative Service officers in Karnataka are among 13.5 lakh people who have signed an online petition addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a CBI probe
Union law minister Sadananda Gowda, who on Wednesday met the home minister about the issue and called for a CBI probe, said the demands should be taken up.
"I told the home minister that the parents of the deceased are demanding CBI probe. Ninty nine percent people in state too are saying so," said Gowda, who was also a former chief minister of Karnataka.
The family of Ravi has alleged that there was "political pressure" and it was not suicide but a murder which should be probed only by CBI.
Ravi's parents, who sat on a dharna on Wednesday after conducting the last rites of their younger son, have threatened to commit suicide unless justice was done. His father-in-law Hanumantharayappa has alleged that Ravi had told him he was "being targeted" by a particular group.
The case is currently with the state Criminal Investigation Department, which, Siddaramaiah said, was "perfectly capable" of handling it.
Protests turn violent
Meanwhile, protests continued in Bengaluru and Tumkur, the home district of the IAS officer.
In Bengaluru, members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad - the student wing of the BJP - who held a protest march against state government demanding CBI intervention, were lathicharged by the police.
In Tumkur, ABVP students blocked a national highway demanding a CBI investigation but were chased away by police who resorted to mild laticharge. The district is also observing a bandh in response to a call given by various organisations.
Students of Agricultural University in Bengaluru, where Ravi graduated in agriculture, also marched in a procession seeking "justice" and a CBI probe into the death of Ravi.
Karnataka's Kolar, where Ravi took on the sand mafia, had seen widespread protests after his death, which the police said, was a prima facie case of suicide.
Ravi, who had a reputation for being upright, had recently taken over as joint commissioner of commercial taxes and was investigating real estate majors and big jewellers for alleged tax evasion and had conducted several big raids.
Ravi was chasing builders in the city who had been evading taxes for years, one of his colleagues told HT on the condition of anonymity. The same source also said that Ravi had collected more than Rs 100 crore in outstanding tax dues from the builders.
Among the real estate companies he pursued were the Embassy Group, partly owned by state home minister KJ George, and Sobha Developers, which has close links with former minister DK Shivakumar, Ravi's colleagues told HT.
(With ANI, PTI and IANS inputs)