A personal assistant of Karnataka Congress leader G Parameshwara, who is being currently investigated by the Income Tax department for alleged tax evasion, was found dead on the campus of Bengaluru University on Saturday morning in a suspected case of suicide.
Ramesh Kumar, 38, who has served as the personal assistant of Parameshwara for over eight years, was found hanging from a tree in the Jnana Bharathi campus.
His family lodged a complaint with the Jnana Bharathi police, saying the death occurred due to harassment by the Income Tax department for information regarding Parameshwara’s wealth.
The Karnataka and Goa unit of the Income Tax department has been carrying out searches at properties belonging to the Congress leader, his family and associates over the last three days as part of a probe into alleged tax evasion in the process of fee collection for admission to educational institutions run by the Siddhartha Group of Institutions which is owned by G Parameshwara and his family.
The Congress party in Karnataka also alleged that the personal assistant of the former deputy chief minister was harassed by IT department officials to part with information linked to the tax investigation.
According to police sources, Ramesh was one of the persons in Parameshwara’s network who had come under the scanner of the Income Tax department as a possible ‘benami’ for land holdings and as a key person with knowledge about the wealth generation and distribution network of the senior Congress leader. A mobile phone used by Ramesh was being analysed for information about transactions carried out by the Congress leader.
Sources said Ramesh left a note in his car indicating he could not handle the probe launched by the Income Tax department.
The Jnana Bharathi police station in west Bengaluru filed a case of abetment of suicide over the death of Ramesh on the basis of the note found in his car and a complaint by his family.
“He was a good and trust worthy worker. He would work diligently. I had spoken to him after the Income Tax raids and told him to be courageous. I told him that there would be no trouble for him. He had gone home and I learnt on Saturday that he was dead. I was shocked,’’ Parameshwara said.
“The harassment by the IT department has caused this death,’’ former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah said.
“IT raids have become politically motivated and in due course of their vindictive action they have claimed innocent lives. I castigate the barbaric heckling by I-T officials which has resulted in Ramesh’s suicide. We demand a transparent and impartial inquiry by the government,’’ state Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao said.