Facing increasing heat over the demand for a CBI probe into the mysterious death of an upright IAS officer, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday asserted that his government was not protecting anybody nor hiding anything.
A day after Congress president Sonia Gandhi advised him to order a CBI probe into the case that has stirred strong public sentiments, he said, the government would make its stand known in the Assembly on Monday on the issue of giving the case to the central agency.
Siddaramaiah said the CID, now investigating the case, was also an independent body like the CBI, and added, "We are not going to hide anything. We are not going to protect anybody. We are also particular that the truth should come out."
As the Assembly session was on, he would spell out the government stand on the floor of the House, he said.
Meanwhile, JDS on Saturday released an audio tape of a purported telephonic conversation between an MLA from Kolar district and an official working under Ravi, who was the Deputy Commissioner there, about his transfer to Bengaluru.
In the tape, the MLA is heard "putting pressure" on the official, "threatening" him to release four lorries of seized "illegal sand" and also speaking about the transfer of Ravi from Kolar district in the next two days.
The way in which the MLA threatened the lower official "it is anybody's guess Ravi was transfered because of (sand) mafia," Kumaraswamy alleged. On the contrary, the chief minister had claimed that the transfer was made on the request of Ravi's father-in-law, he said.
Hanumanthrayappa said there were no personal problems between his family and Ravi's and requested people not to spread falsehood.
"As the head of his family, at least I could have sensed something if anything is there. There is no personal problem between my family and his family. So it is a falsehood. Whoever is spreading falsehood, I request once again not to do it," headded.
Launching a joint offensive against the Siddaramaiah government, BJP and JDS have stalled Assembly proceedings for three days and met the Governor seeking his intervention to advise the chief minister to order a CBI probe.
Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda also demanded a CBI probe into Ravi's death and flayed attempts to "defame" the family of the deceased IAS officer.
"Someone is trying to divert the issue...They are cooking up stories....it hurts everyone...God will not forgive them...if they want to cook up the story...There is no doubt that a few powerful politicians are behind it and to get at the root of the truth, CBI inquiry is a must," he said.
Siddaramaiah also lashed out at the Opposition parties, particularly JDS, accusing it of trying to derive political mileage out of the incident. The JDS charge that the government was not interested in bringing out the truth was "politically motivated," he said.
He also dismissed as "childish, irresponsible and politically motivated" Kumaraswamy's charge that his visit to the hospital during the post-mortem of the body of Ravi was to influence the case.
Siddaramaiah also dismissed Kumaraswamy's charge that a woman IAS officer, who was a batchmate of Ravi, was being harassed. "The question of harassing does not arise at all. The charge is concocted and fabricated."
Siddaramaiah said he had informed the Congress president of the developments in the case, "But madam has not instructed me to do like this or that. She told us that it is for the government to take a decision and given free hand to the government."
As protests gained momentum, Siddaramaiah said he understood the sentiments of the people and of the parents of 35-year-old DK Ravi, who had made a mark as an honest officer taking on the land and sand mafia and tax evaders.
"I am making it very clear that the government is not going to protect anybody. We are not going to hide anything," Siddaramaiah said. "We are very transparent in this. We are also very particular that the truth comes out. People of Karnataka should know the truth."
Ravi's distraught wife Kusuma had been hospitalised in Begaluru, her father Hanumantharayappa said.