Karnataka minister KS Eshwarappa has been named in a police case in connection with the suicide of a contractor, who was found dead in a lodge in Udupi yesterday after accusing him of corruption, officials said.
The First Information Report or FIR accuses the minister of driving contractor Santosh Patil to suicide.
Mr Eshwarappa’s two associates, Basavaraj and Ramesh, have also been named in the FIR, which was filed based on a complaint filed by Santosh Patil’s brother Prashant.
Mr Patil had accused the minister’s associates of demanding a 40 per cent commission to clear his bill for the Rs 4 crore work he had carried out in Rural Development and Panchayat Raj department.
In his purported suicide note, he alleged that Mr Eshwarappa was responsible for his death.
“RDPR minister KS Eshwarappa is solely responsible for my death. I am taking this decision, keeping my aspirations aside. I request with folded hands to our prime minister, chief minister, our beloved lingayat leader BSY and everybody else to extend a helping hand to my wife and kids,” he wrote.
Sources said the minister will likely be asked to resign from his post amid the row over the contractor’s death as demanded by the central leadership of the BJP.
Arun Singh, BJP national general secretary in charge of Karnataka, said a decision on this will be taken soon. “We will definitely take a decision on this, however, he added, it’s important to know the background of the entire case.”
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said he will hold a one-on-one discussion with Mr Eshwarappa before taking a decision on the need for him to resign.
“I don’t know what he said about resignation. It will be clear when we speak directly. Accordingly, we will take a decision,” the Chief Minister said.
Meanwhile, a Karnataka Congress delegation led by state party chief DK Shivakumar, and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah met Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot, demanding the expulsion of Mr Eshwarappa from the state cabinet as well as his arrest over the contractor’s death.
Siddaramaiah said similar allegations were levelled against the then Home Minister KJ George in 2017 in connection with the suicide of Deputy Superintendent of Police, MK Ganapathy.
As a Chief Minister, I had accepted his resignation then, he said, demanding that the same precedence must be followed now.