LUCKNOW/BENGALURU: On his 36th birthday, Anurag Tiwari, a 2007 batch IAS officer of Karnataka cadre, was found dead under mysterious circumstances outside a government VIP guest house in Lucknow on Wednesday morning.
Anurag, a native of Bahraich district in UP, was posted in January as Food and Civil Supplies Commissioner in Bengaluru and prior to that was Deputy Commissioner of Bidar.
He had arrived in Lucknow a few days ago after finishing a training session in Mussoorie. He was to fly back to Bengaluru on Wednesday morning and join duty on Thursday.
According to sources, doctors who conducted the autopsy said Anurag died due to asphyxia (deprivation of oxygen) but failed to specify what caused the condition. Besides, there were six injury marks on his body.
As Anurag’s kin alleged foul play, police were awaiting post mortem report to decide the next course of action.
While the IAS officer’s father cried murder and directly blamed some senior officers, Anurag’s elder brothers Alok and Mayank, both engineers, were contemplating filing a police complaint.
Mayank sought probe by an independent agency as, he said, an IAS officer was present with Anurag before he died. “Honest and clean officers are being targeted in a selective manner in Karnataka. We feel Anurag was killed as he was in the process of exposing a scam worth over Rs 2,000 crore,” he added.
Reacting to the incident, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah said the cause of death is still unknown."We will send IAS officers from the state to get more details. He did many good works at a young age,’’ he said. IAS officers Pankaj Kumar Pandey and Abhiram G Shankar have gone to UP.
Tiwari, an electric engineer, had held many positions in the state, as Madhugiri (Tumakuru) Assistant Commissioner, Tumakuru City Corporation Commissioner and DC of Bidar.
Meanwhile, BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje said she suspected foul play and has written to the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, seeking a thorough probe in the matter.
On Tuesday night, Anurag celebrated his birthday with friends at a restaurant and came back to the guest house room that was booked by his batchmate PN Singh, who is vice-chairman of Lucknow Development Authority. Singh too slept in the room. According to police sources, when Singh got up at 6.30am, he found Anurag missing. He handed over the keys at the reception and left to play badminton.
Anurag was later found dead in a pool of blood, some 100 metres away from the guest house, on the roadside. “It appears he stepped out for a morning walk and his health deteriorated suddenly. He collapsed. A passerby alerted police control room at 6.10 am and he was rushed to Civil Hospital. But doctors declared him dead upon arrival,” said SSP Lucknow Deepak Kumar.
Anurag’s eldest brother Alok said it was unusual for him to go for morning walks. “He was a bookworm and read up to 2 in the morning. He never used to step out for morning strolls.” The brothers said senior officers kept harassing Anurag. “His leaves were not sanctioned and he was also considering to change his cadre from Karnataka,” they said. Anurag was divorced in March this year. Just a week after their wedding, he and his wife separated and they were not living together for seven years.
Lucknow police are grappling for some clues as there was a lacerated wound on Anurag’s chin and a few cuts on the lips but none on the body. No CCTV cameras were installed at the guest house. The SSP said the findings would be shared with Karnataka government as Siddaramaiah was monitoring the case. Tiwari’s viscera has been preserved for further examination.
The circumstances of Tiwari’s death has caused some ripples in Karnataka as it was reminiscent of the death of another IAS officer DK Ravi in March 2015.
Recalling Anurag’s work, senior BJP leader Suresh Kumar who was district-in-charge minister of Tumakuru during 2009 said, “His job during heavy rains in Madhugiri was commendable. He was elevated as Tumkur City Corporation Commissioner where he did a good job and developed many roads.”
Officials from the Food and Civil Supplies department said they got little time to work with him. “He reported as Commissioner on January 4. But he was soon sent to Punjab as election observer. He came back and again went to Mussoorie for a 45-day training. Then he went on leave and was to rejoin on Thursday. He was down to earth, very jovial and had a great sense of humour,’’ recalled a colleague.
Anurag had additional charge of Karnataka State Food Corporation with the Commissioner’s post.
Tiwari was known to be honest and a people’s man
IAS officer Anurag Tiwari was known as a soft-yet-firm man who was “never influenced by politicians”.
Described as a ‘people’s man’, he was probably best known for rejuvenation of hundreds of wells and tanks during his stint as the deputy commissioner of Bidar from June 2015 to December 2016. His efforts were appreciated by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and they were replicated across the state as ‘Kere Sanvjivini’ programme.
An official who worked with Tiwari said, “He was very soft when he spoke to people, but equally firm when it came to getting works done.” When he was shifted out of Bidar, many organisations felt his transfer was done under political pressure and held protests.