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Wife’s death returns to haunt CM

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa will face a fresh probe into the death of his wife, Maitri Devi, under mysterious circumstances in Shimoga town in October 2004, reports BR Srikanth.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2009 13:48 IST
BR Srikanth

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa will face a fresh probe into the death of his wife, Maitri Devi, under mysterious circumstances in Shimoga town in October 2004.

On Saturday, S.N. Kankani, the second judicial magistrate first class in Shimoga, 270 km north of Bangalore, ordered the local police to probe the death and submit their report by March 31.

Yeddyurappa’s ancestral home is in Shimoga, where Maitri Devi had been living when her husband was Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly.

The judge passed the order on a complaint submitted by local lawyer K. Sheshadri. The lawyer has accused seven people of being behind Maitri Devi’s death. They are Yeddyurappa, his sons Raghavendra and Vijendra, daughter Aruna Devi and three servants.

The chief minister, who was in Shimoga on Sunday, reacted to the court order by telling mediapersons, “This is the biggest existential crisis of my life. I am prepared to face it.”

According to the complaint lodged by Sheshadri, the local police had registered a case of unnatural death and that Yeddyurappa and his family members and servants had fabricated the evidence. The post-mortem examination report said it was a case of drowning in a tank in the house by accident.

Sheshadri said, “We cannot accept the report of an investigating officer who completed the entire process (of inquiry) within an hour, including recording of statements of family members and servants. Curiously, the police did not take pictures of the body on that day,” Sheshadri said.

“How can she slip into the tank measuring 8 ft x 8 ft, with the water standing at 4.5 feet, and the opening of the tank measuring 1.5 feet? A tap near the opening makes it difficult for anyone to slip into the tank and not sustain external injuries,” said Sheshadri.