Amid mounting opposition pressure for his resignation over the death of a civil contractor, senior Karnataka Minister K S Eshwarappa on Wednesday ruled out stepping down from his post, as he wondered if a Whatsapp message can be treated as a “death note.” He demanded a probe into the “conspiracy” behind Santosh K Patil’s death.
Eshwarappa’s statement on Wednesday came in the wake of the BJP leader being booked by the police in Udupi for abetment of suicide, following the death of Patil, who had accused the minister of corruption. The Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister also wondered how a Whatsapp message can be treated as a “death note” and said it can be typed by anybody, referring to the purported message by Patil.
No signed or written “death note” was found near Patil’s body, he said. “The question of my resignation does not arise at all. I will not bow to the opposition demand for my resignation,” Eshwarappa said.
The 37-year-old contractor had earlier alleged that Eshwarappa demanded 40 per cent commission for release of funds for the civil works undertaken by him at Hindalga village in Belagavi district ahead of a festival. The contractor allegedly committed suicide in a lodge in Udupi on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday by consuming some poisonous substance, according to police.
A case of abetting suicide has been registered by the Udupi police against Eshwarappa and his aides Basavaraj, Ramesh and others. Reiterating that he did not know Patil, the Minister even said he was not “even related” to the BJP.
Today only I spoke to the Belagavi district rural president. He told me he (Santosh Patil) has no relation with the BJP. Some people are creating relationship. For whom are they creating this connection? This is the conspiracy. It should be probed,” Eshwarappa said.
The minister also insisted on producing documentary evidence to show that he was involved in the case. “The conspiracy behind the death should be probed. Did he die on his own or for some other reason must be investigated,” Eshwarappa said.
Santosh Patil, a BJP leader and contractor was found dead in a lodge in Udupi on Tuesday. Patil had recently accused Karnataka Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister KS Eshwarappa of corruption. Patil in his purported suicide note alleged that Eshwarappa had demanded a 40 per cent commission for his work through his aide.
Patil had reportedly written letters to PM Modi, Amit Shah and Union Minister Giriraj Singh accusing Eshwarappa of demanding a 40 per cent cut from him. However, Eshwarappa dismissed the claims and filed a defamation suit against Patil. Meanwhile, the Karnataka Congress has decided to intensify agitation against the ruling BJP government over the case.
The delegation of top Congress leaders, including Randeep Surjewala, DK Shivakumar met Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot and demanded the termination of K.S. Eshwarappa. The delegation has also demanded to lodge corruption and murder charges against him and further stress for his immediate arrest.We have appealed to the Governor to dismiss KS Eshwarappa, get him arrested. Secondly, a corruption case should be regd against him given that he would seek 40% commission from his own people, including contractor Santosh Patil(who later died by suicide)”, DK Shivakumar, as quoted by ANI said.