By P.T. Bopanna
As suspected in the Dy SP M.K. Ganapathi suicide case, the Karnataka police have given a clean chit to former minister K.J. George and two other IPS officers in their investigation report submitted to the JMFC court at Madikeri in Kodagu district on Saturday.
The CID report gives the impression that the police have tried to shield George with a view to enable his re-induction into the ministry. With chief minister Siddarmaiah planning to go for an early election to cash in on Cauvery water issue, it is believed the presence of George in the ministry is critical because he is close to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Though the report has not been made public, it is believed that the CID has submitted a ‘B’ report citing lack of evidence over harassment charges levelled by Ganapathi against George and the IPS officers Pronab Mohanty and A.M. Prasad.
It may be recalled that the police had tried to derail the case soon after it came to know that Ganapathi had committed suicide at a lodge in Madikeri on July 7 after he gave an ‘explosive’ interview to television channels where he had stated that should anything happen to his life, minister George and the IPS officers should be held responsible.
Apparently on direction from the ‘top’, the Kodagu police had gone to the extent of taking the signature on a blank paper from the father of Ganapathi, blaming domestic problems for the suicide, before the body was handed over to the family.
After the Kushalanagar police refused to register FIR on a complaint by Ganapathi’s wife Pavana, the family approached the Madikeri court which directed the police to file FIR against George and the IPS officers following which George resigned from the ministry.
According to reports, the CID investigation officer Sridhar handed over the 500-page report to JMFC Judge Annapoorneshwari on Saturday, two days ahead of the deadline set by the court for submitting the report.
“We cross-examined 70 witnesses, including the members of Ganapathi’s family and the staff of Vinayaka Lodge where he committed suicide. There is no reference to any harassment by them in the two diaries found at Ganapathi’s home and office,” CID sources told a newspaper.
There has been speculation from the beginning that the police had allegedly tampered with the evidence. It was pointed out that though the television channels had visuals of a letter left behind by Ganpathi and a pen drive in the lodge where his body was found, the police had denied the existence of any such letter or pen drive.
Further, Ganapathi’s brother, who is also a Dy SP, had given a statement soon after the alleged suicide that his brother had ‘domestic problems’ which raised eyebrows as it was suspected that the brother was used to mislead the investigation.
Another important evidence involved was the reported statement of the former Indian hockey team captain M.P. Ganesh, material uncle of Ganapathi, who is reported to have been a witness to an argument between the deceased officer and ADGP Prasad. The CID had questioned Ganesh regarding the incident.
Reacting to the CID report, Ganapathi’s wife Pavana (in picture) said she would decide on the next course of action after the court hearing on September 19. Pavana said she was fighting a lonely battle. “Initially, everyone was with us. Now, there is nobody to support us. I have worked hard during the CID investigation. It is also affecting my children’s studies,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ganpathi’s father Kushalappa has moved the high court seeking a CBI inquiry. In his petition, the father has claimed that owing to political pressure, the CID is likely to close the investigation by filing a B report. Kushalappa has stated that it cannot be a case of suicide since two rounds of bullets had been fired from his service revolver in the room where he was found dead, hinting that his son was murdered.
EDITORIAL: This is a fit case for a CBI probe as the conduct of the Karnataka police has been suspect from the beginning. The CID police may have come under pressure to shield the former minister and the IPS officers.
Moreover, the state CID was not the right agency to take up the investigation as the accused included senior officers of the rank of additional director general of police. The investigating officer could not have grilled their seniors to elicit critical information.