- A contractor was found dead in the coastal town of Udupi on Tuesday
- Congress blames rural development and panchayat Raj minister K S Eshwarappa
- The contractor had accused the minister of demanding 40% commission for a contract
Congress on Tuesday demanded the arrest of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K S Eshwarappa and his dismissal from Cabinet after the death of a civil worker, who had accused him of demanding 40 per cent commission on a contract.
Patil was found dead in a lodge in the coastal town of Udupi on Tuesday with police suspecting it to be a case of suicide.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also tweeted in connection to the incident. He said: "BJP’s 40% Commission Govt in Karnataka has claimed the life of their own Karyakarta. The victim’s pleas to the PM went unanswered. PM & CM are complicit."
"Santosh K Patil is a BJP worker himself and has clearly said that Eshwarappa is directly responsible for his death. This comes under the ingredients (of offence) under Section 300 of the IPC warranting punishment under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC," Congress leader Siddaramaiah told reporters.
The former Chief Minister said: "Immediately Eshwarappa should be arrested and he should be dismissed from the cabinet forthwith. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai should not allow him to continue as a minister in his cabinet since he is facing a murder charge. It is a serious offence punishable with life imprisonment or the death penalty."
Patil from Belagavi district had earlier alleged that Eshwarappa had demanded 40 per cent commission on the value of the contract work executed by him. The minister not only dismissed his allegations but also filed a defamation suit against him.
In his purported message on social media, Patil allegedly held the Minister responsible for his death.
Referring to a Dy SP M K Ganapathi who committed suicide during his tenure as the Chief Minister accusing the then home minister K J George of exerting pressure, Siddaramaiah said based on the private complaint, a case was registered and accordingly, George had resigned.
The same precedence must be followed, Siddaramaiah said.
When asked about Eshwarappa's statement that he himself has filed a defamation suit against the contractor, Siddaramaiah said, "What Eshwarappa says is not important. He should be dismissed from the cabinet, a case must be registered and he should be arrested based on what Santosh Patil has said."
The Congress general secretary and Karnataka in charge Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged that communal passion is being flared up in Karnataka to "cover-up rampant corruption" in Karnataka, which is "evident from the instant case".
Later in a series of tweets, Siddaramaiah said the "entire BJP is responsible for his death".
"Sequence of events suggest that Santosh Patil did not take the decision in haste. He had written letters to @PMOIndia @narendramodi & @MoRD_GOI @girirajsinghbjp to provide relief from corruption by @ikseshwarappa. The entire @BJP4India is responsible for his death," Siddaramaiah tweeted.
Calling the Basavaraj Bommai government in Karnataka as '40% BJP Sarkar', Siddaramaiah said, "Narendra Modi should be ashamed to coin the slogan 'Na Khaunga, Na Khane Dunga'. He should limit himself to writing scripts for Bollywood films, instead of running the govt. I am not sure if he is capable to do even that."
Later, Congress activists staged a demonstration in the city demanding the arrest of Eshwarappa and his expulsion from the Cabinet