Five persons have been arrested in connection with the murder of Karnataka Administrative Service (KAS) officer SP Mahantesh in May. According to the crime branch of the Bangalore police which has been probing the case, Kiran (arrested), the owner of a credit cooperative society in North Bangalore warned Mahantesh against probing any alleged irregularities by his firm. When Mahantesh did not back off, Kiran and four of his associates attacked the officer on the night of May 15 in central Bangalore. Mahantesh was punched in his face and pushed over sharp stones. Mahantesh, who suffered major injuries in his chest and head, was shifted to a private hospital for treatment. The 48-year-old died five days later due to a cardiac arrest.
The Karnataka government official was working as Deputy Director of the Audit wing in the state's Cooperative department and had reported irregularities in different societies involving officials and politicians. The central crime branch deployed nearly 200 officers to crack the case. Jyothiprakash Mirji, Bangalore Police Commissioner said, "We have arrested all the persons and will still continue investigation to see if we get leads to any other name involved in the murder case."
The police which took more than a fortnight to solve the case came up with several other theories including family feud as a cause of Mahantesh's murder. However, a shattered and defiant family refused to accept that Mahantesh died for any other reason but for being honest and exposing several scandals. Puttanaiah, Mahantesh's father, said, "He always believed in doing his work in the right manner no matter what."
Mahantesh is the second Karnataka government official to be killed in an assault last month. An Assistant Conservator of Forest, Madan Naik was assaulted by a group of tourists at Dandeli in Uttara Kannada district on May 6 after he objected to them feeding crocodiles at a private resort. The government has ordered a CID probe into his death and the police had arrested six people in the case.
Among other cases, Mahantesh was also investigating irregularities in the allotment of land by the housing society in the state. Will the investigation stop with Mahantesh's death?