BJP member and contractor Santhosh Patil — who had accused Karnataka Minister KS Eshwarappa of corruption — was found dead in Udupi on Tuesday.

Randeep Surjewala, Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar addressing the media
news Politics Tuesday, April 12, 2022 - 16:30

The Congress in Karnataka has lashed out at the state government after BJP member and contractor Santhosh Patil — who had accused Karnataka Minister KS Eshwarappa of corruption — was found dead in Udupi on Tuesday, April 12. Addressing the media, Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar and Leader of Opposition and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah demanded action against Eshwarappa and called for the BJP government to sack him. 

“Everyone knows it is a murder. He (Santhosh) died after levelling corruption allegations against Minister KS Eshwarappa. The government should file an FIR against him under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code. Eshwarappa should immediately be arrested and he must be dismissed from the Cabinet,” Siddaramaiah said, flanked by DK Shivakumar and Congress media cell head Randeep Surjewala. 

The contractor Santhosh Patil, died a day after he sent a text message stating that KS Eshwarappa would be responsible for his death. Santhosh had last month told TNM that he had not been paid for a project that was completed in 2019, as he did not pay a bribe to KS Eshwarappa. Eshwarappa, however, has denied all the allegations and had sent a defamation notice to Santhosh.

Also read: Eshwarappa brazens it out after contractor's death, says not my fault

“Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai should not allow him to continue as a minister in this Cabinet since he is facing an allegation of murder. This is a serious offence. Santhosh Patil has died, and he made it categorically clear in his statement that Eshwarappa was responsible,” Siddaramaiah added. 

Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar has demanded an immediate time-bound judicial enquiry into the alleged suicide of Santosh Patil. “A businessman who had publicly alleged that BJP leaders and ministers were asking for bribes has been suspiciously found dead. Corruption is at an all time high under BJP rule,” he said. 

Also read: 'Santhosh not with us because of Eshwarappa': Karnataka contractor's kin seeks justice

Shivakumar said that there could be many such incidents and action must be taken against those accused of demanding bribes. 

“This issue of 40% commission issue has not been raised by us. The registered contractors’ association has raised this issue and now it has reached here. There is a possibility of tens of such incidents. The Chief Minister should not protect the accused. The Home Secretary, Director General of Police and the Police Commissioner should immediately file an FIR and jail whoever is behind this…The government should respect the law of this land and file the case,” Shivakumar said. 

Randeep Surjewala said that the Congress will gherao Chief Minister Bommai’s residence if Eshwarappa is not arrested without delay. 

Santhosh was one of the many contractors who have accused the BJP government in Karnataka of demanding exorbitant bribes from contractors and increasing corruption. Santhosh was the national secretary of the Hindu Yuva Vahini and had spoken to TNM last month where he had revealed that Eshwarappa demanded that he pay a 40% bribe before his payment could go through and that due to this, he was being hounded by loan sharks. 

Santhosh had told TNM that there was no work order raised for the road work that he undertook in Hindalga as Eshwarappa had given him a verbal assurance that he will personally take care of everything. “But neither the work order was raised, nor was the payment released. When I kept following up with Eshwarappa, some of his assistants asked me for 40% of the total project cost — almost Rs 4 crore — to have the total payment processed,” Santhosh had told TNM. Santhosh had also accused officials in the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) department of corruption. 

Also read: Voted BJP for change, now we pay 40% cut as bribe: Karnataka contractors are upset

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