IAS officer may have been killed by drug that induces heart attack, says ex-bureaucrat

Retired Karnataka-cadre IAS officer alleges ‘Anna Bhagya’ scam behind the crime

lucknow Updated: May 29, 2017 20:11 IST
Rohit K Singh
Rohit K Singh
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Anurag Tiwari,Karnataka cadre IAS officer,Anna Bhagya scam
On May 20, the special investigation team with the help of forensic experts tried to reconstruct the sequence of events leading to the death of Karnataka-cadre IAS officer Anurag Tewari.(HT File Photo)

The 1981-batch retired Karnataka cadre IAS officer, MN Vijaykumar suspected that 36-year-old Anurag Tewari’s food was laced with drugs to induce heart attack or shoot up his blood pressure. He said the alleged multi-crore scam in ‘Anna Bhagya’ programme of Karnataka government was probably the reason behind his alleged killing.

Vijaykumar said he mentioned these facts in a letter written to the union cabinet secretary on Monday. The letter also had detailed information about the scam and similar attempts on him when he tried to blow the lid off scams involving senior IAS officers in Karnataka, he said.

A former principal secretary-level officer, Vijaykumar was penalised with ‘compulsory retirement’ for “indiscipline” just three days before his tenure was to end in April 2015.

  • May 17: Anurag Tewari found dead under mysterious circumstances on the road near the State Guest House at Meera Bai Marg.
  • May 18: SSP Lucknow Deepak Kumar constituted a five-member SIT to probe into the case and submit its report within 72 hours after the opposition raised the issue during the assembly session.
  • May 19: SIT collects video footage of a Hazratganj restaurant where Tiwari had his last meal.
  • May 21: The SSP extended the time limit allotted to the SIT to file its report.
  • May 22: The state government recommends the case to CBI after Tewari’s family met CM Yogi Adityanath and lodged an FIR of murder against unknown persons with Hazratganj police station.
  • May 23: The special investigation team (SIT) questioned Tiwari’s batch mate Prabhu Narain Singh, who was staying with him at the State Guest House.

While talking to HT over phone, he said he had approached Tewari’s family and suggested that they demand proper preservation of the viscera, blood and other samples collected from the deceased’s body and send them to a reputed international forensic laboratory for detailed examination.

Vijaykumar said he suspected that Tiwari was murdered by a drug that induces heart attack or leads to sudden increase of blood pressure. He said a similar attempt was made to eliminate him in December 2007, when he was found unconscious in his office as a result of his medicines being tampered with.

He emphasised that the Indian forensic laboratories cannot unearth drug-induced murders, so the examination of samples must be done at some international lab. In the letter, the retired officer mentioned about the alleged scam in ‘Anna Bhagya’ programme.

“Tewari, who was posted as the commissioner of food & civil supplies and consumer affairs department in Bengaluru, though reluctant initially after being confronted with some documents related to the anomalies, had informed his junior colleagues about the threat perception to him before he went for mid-career training in Mussoorie,” he said.

Vijaykumar said many were arguing that Tewari, having worked for less than 40 days in food & civil supplies department, could not have exposed any major scam. “But for an IAS officer with integrity and courage, 30 days is more than enough to unearth major scams buried by his predecessors,” he emphasised.

He said he had shared this information with authentic documentary evidences with the chief secretary, DGP, some IAS and IPS officers of UP with a request to bring the content of the letter to the notice of Tewari’s family members.

To recall, 2007 batch Karnataka cadre IAS officer Anurag Tewari, a resident of UP’s Bahraich district, was found dead under mysterious circumstances on his birthday (May 17) near the State Guest House at Meera Bai Marg in Hazratganj. Anurag and his batchmate Prabhu Narain Singh (posted as vice-chairman of Lucknow Development Authority) had come to Lucknow after attending a mid-career training programme at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie.

Read more: IAS officer Anurag Tiwari’s family says his honesty proved to be his nemesis

Before Anurag’s untimely death, they had been staying together in room number 19 of the State Guest House for three days. The Karnataka government launched its much-awaited ambitious ‘Anna Bhagya’ programme in 2014 to supply 30 kg of rice at ₹1 per kg to nearly 10 million below poverty line (BPL) families across the state.

The scheme cost ₹4,400 crore to the state exchequer annually.

Talking about the alleged ‘Anna Bhagya’ scam, Vijaykumar said huge money was being looted in rice procurement for the programme in food and civil supplies department using three methods.

“Firstly, the scamsters procure sub-standard rice and pay higher price to pocket huge commission. Secondly, they procure rotten rice at higher price and replace the good rice with rotten rice and sell the good rice to earn money illegally. Thirdly, the good rice is deliberately allowed to rot to procure funds to purchase fresh rice to get more commission,” he explained.

Vijaykumar said on August 21, 2014 he had written a letter to the Karnataka chief secretary with copies to other senior officers vested with the responsibility of preventing such scams. He said he had not been informed of any action taken on the complaint.

Read more: UP govt recommends CBI probe into IAS officer Anurag Tiwari’s mysterious death

First Published: May 24, 2017 18:31 IST