A Karnataka civil servant who had exposed controversial land allotments by cooperative societies died in hospital today, five days after being attacked and left unconscious on a Bangalore street.
The murder of state administrative service officer S.P. Mahantesh, 48, prompted Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy to urge the government to protect honest officials as its first priority.
Mahantesh, known for his integrity, was deputy director of the audit wing of the state cooperative department and had publicly alleged irregularities in various cooperative societies involving some officials and political figures.
He was attacked by unknown people while returning home in his car on May 15 and taken to hospital after passers-by noticed him lying unconscious.
Injured severely in the head, the official had been on life support for the past two days and suffered a cardiac arrest today, hospital sources said. According to media reports, his death comes a day after his marriage anniversary.
“Mahantesh’s heart stopped at 5.30am. We tried our best to revive him but failed,” said a doctor who declined to be named.
Murthy said: “I’m really shocked because the first priority of the government must be to protect honest officers.”
He added: “Unless our honest officers have confidence in the government, in the police system, in being able to execute their work properly, we will not get justice. Therefore, it is very important that every central and state government takes care of protecting honest officers.”
Deputy commissioner of police Ravikante Gowda said the force had formed four teams to find and arrest the killers and had obtained “some important clues”.
“The incident is unfortunate and has hurt the sentiments of the people and the government,” chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda said, adding that Mahantesh’s family would receive compensation.
State home minister R. Ashok said the police were “looking at certain angles” to zero in on the killers. “The government is doing everything to provide justice to the family of Mahantesh,” he added.
“This is a classic case where a person stood up for the truth and was done in and there is no protection for him. What happens to his family?” Infosys human resources director Mohandas Pai said.