Amid an outpouring of grief, protesters hit the streets in Karnataka's Bengaluru and Kolar today, demanding that the death of 36-year-old IAS officer DK Ravikumar be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI, as many questioned the police's premise that he committed suicide.
The young bureaucrat's friends have organised a candlelight vigil at the city's Freedom Park to honour his memory.
Mr Ravikumar was found dead in his apartment in Bengaluru on Monday. His wife returned home to find him hanging from a ceiling fan. He will be cremated in the Bengaluru suburb of Nagarbhavi today.
In Kolar, where Mr Ravikumar was famous as a fearless district collector who took on the sand mafia, there was a bandh, with transport off the roads today and schools and colleges staying shut. In Bengaluru, parties like the Aam Aadmi Party and Jai Karnataka held protests.
Opposition parties raised Mr Ravikumar's death in the state Assembly, demanding a CBI investigation.
The police have said they suspect suicide, though they found no note. Bengaluru Police Commissioner MN Reddi said today that the post-mortem report is awaited
As political pressure mounts, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddharamiah visited the officer's home. "Prime facie it is suicide. Enquiry and investigation is on. We do not know the exact cause," he said, promising a fair investigation.
Former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal (Secular) said friends and colleagues of Mr Ravikumar - a 2009 batch IAS officer on deputation with the Commercial Tax department - say he was a strong-willed man and not the kind to commit suicide.
The Bengaluru Police has set up a three-member team to investigate the case. Sources said the officer had returned to his apartment in an upmarket complex from office around 11 am on Monday, and while his driver waited for him downstairs, he went up alone. They said he did not seem to have had any visitors after that.
When Mr Ravi's wife returned home, the police said, the door was locked from inside and had to be opened with a duplicate key.
The police have said they will examine CCTV footage from the apartment complex and analyse Mr Ravi's mobile records.