Nineteen people have been arrested and a police sub-inspector was suspended following a mob attack on IAS officer Rashmi V Mahesh at the state run Administrative Training Institute (ATI) at Mysore where the IAS officer was deputed as the director general only a couple of months ago.
The mob attack on the IAS officer followed the suspected suicide in the early hours of Wednesday of a 53-year-old contract worker at the ATI whose services had recently been terminated along with a canteen contract. The death of the contract worker and the attack on the IAS officer occurred even as the IAS officer submitted a report to the Karnataka government about wide spread irregularities at the ATI under her predecessor.
The untoward incidents at the ATI occurred after a security guard at the institute found the dead body of Venkatesh, 53, a canteen employee in a sump on the campus on Wednesday morning. Later in the day when the ATI director Rashmi Mahesh came out to offer condolences and pay last respects to the dead man several of the canteen worker’s colleagues manhandled and attacked the IAS officer claiming that she had recently terminated the services of the contract employee leading to his suicide.
The IAS officer was attacked despite her insistence that she had not taken any action against Venkatesh who was only a contract employee at the institute.
“It was a premeditated attack where a mob of over 40 canteen workers and a few ‘goondas’ arrived in two cars and a tempo traveller. Some of them even recorded the incident as I was being manhandled and assaulted with stones and slippers,” the IAS officer Rashmi Mahesh said.
According to the IAS officer the mob that attacked her was mobilized by the management of Bharani caterers a firm whose contract to run the canteen at ATI had recently been terminated by her. “The one year contract with Bharani catering service ended in July 2012 but the former DG of the ATI (another IAS officer Amita Prasad) extended the contract. This was against the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Rules (KTPPR). When the matter was brought to my notice we refused to extend the contract of Bharani caterers and instead decided to call for fresh tenders,” Rashmi Mahesh said.
The ATI canteen employee who is suspected to have committed suicide “was only an employee and no action was taken against him,” the IAS officer said.
According to Rashmi Mahesh the canteen contractors were attempting to end her tenure at the ATI by leveling false allegations and inciting public outrage.
The incidents at the ATI on Wednesday comes close on the heels of the new director general submitting a report to the state government stating that nearly Rs. 60 crores sanctioned for the institute by the Central Government was misappropriated and used against illegally during her predecessor’s tenure. “Rashmi Mahesh who took over the post barely two months ago saw through the financial mismanagement and informed the state government. She has demanded that the state government conduct a CBI inquiry over the
misappropriation of funds from ATI,” an ATI official said.
The IAS officer sustained injuries on the back of her head in the attack on her. Nazarbad Police Inspector K C Poovaiah who at arrived the scene with additional police force escorted the IAS officer away from the reach of the unruly mob. The IAS officer has accused the police of not providing adequate security to her.
Meanwhile the Mysore city police commissioner Dr M A Saleem has announced the suspension of Nazarbad police Sub Inspector Narendra Babu over the incident. “It is easy to provocate crowds in an emotionally charged situation. The jurisdictional officer should not have allowed the dead body of the contract employee to be taken to the ATI campus. They should have also called for additional forces. The sub inspector has been suspended for dereliction of duty,” Saleem said.
The death of the canteen employee and how he fell through the narrow opening of the sump is shrouded in mystery. The police are awaiting a postmortem report to ascertain the exact cause of Venkatesh’s death.
Altogether 11 charges have been framed against the 19 mobsters who attacked the IAS officer including IPC Section 307 for attempt to murder.