Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Wednesday called for a high-level inquiry by an independent agency into the death of Karnataka Legislative Council Deputy Chairperson SL Dharmegowda, reported PTI. The Janata Dal (Secular) leader was found dead on a railway track near Kadur in Chikkamagaluru district of the state on Tuesday.
Police found a suicide note but refused to divulge its content, or confirm that he killed himself.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday morning, Birla mentioned an incident in the Karnataka Assembly earlier this month, where Dharmegowda was heckled.
“The unfortunate incident in the House when he was in Chair, is a serious attack on democracy,” Birla said. It is necessary to have a high-level probe through an independent agency into his death. It is the duty of all of us to safeguard the prestige of legislative bodies and dignity and freedom of presiding officers.”
On December 15, Bharatiya Janata Party MLCs in the Karnataka Upper House made Dharmegowda take the seat of the chairperson. The BJP wanted to pass a no-confidence motion against council chairperson and Congress leader K Prathap Shetty. However, chaos ensued after Congress MLCs tried to forcibly remove Dharmegowda. Some media reports on Tuesday suggested that the incident affected Dharmegowda.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy had termed the incident a “political murder”. “The truth should come out as soon as possible about who is responsible for his death,” he said.