The Karnataka Minister, who had filed a defamation notice against the contractor, went on to claim that Santhosh should have "faced the case."

File photo of KS Eshwarappa
news Controversy Tuesday, April 12, 2022 - 15:14

Days after contractor and Karnataka BJP member Santhosh Patil levelled allegations of corruption against Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister KS Eshwarappa, the former was found dead on Tuesday, April 12. A preliminary investigation into the matter suggests that he died by suicide at a lodge in Udupi, police said. He purportedly sent a message to his friends alleging that Eshwarappa was “directly responsible” for his death, and demanded action against the minister.

After news of Santhosh’s death, Eshwarappa has denied knowing anything about the incident to the media. “I don’t know anything (about this), I am hearing about it from you for the first time,” he said. Responding to a question about Santhosh naming the minister in his suicide note, Eshwarappa said, “It may be, I don’t know anything about it. Why he wrote the note, why he named me as an accused, I know nothing about it. He is not around to answer these questions.”

“It is clear that there is no mistake committed from our end and that is why a notice had been served to him. And right after that, he has killed himself. I am learning it through the media. I went to court because I was being defamed. He should have faced it legally. I have nothing to do with his death,” he added. I have no connection with his death so I will not resign, Eshwarappa further said.

Santhosh, who hailed from Belagavi, was among many contractors who accused the BJP-led Karnataka government of increased corruption. Santhosh had said that he was hired by the government to construct 100 roads for a cost of Rs 4 crore. However, over two years later, Santhosh’s bills were still not cleared, as he allegedly did not pay a 40% cut to Eshwarappa.  The minister later denied knowing Santhosh at all, and sued the latter for defamation.

Read: BJP member Santhosh who accused top Karnataka minister of corruption found dead

Santhosh had earlier told TNM that the delayed payment had caused him anguish. “Because of the pandemic and other political reasons, the process kept getting delayed. I finished the project in 2019 but have not received a single penny for it yet. I have borrowed money heavily for it and am being hounded by loan sharks now,” Patil had said.

On Monday, April 11, before his death, Santhosh purportedly sent a message to his friends accusing Eshwarappa of being “the sole cause of his death”. “The sole reason for my death is Eshwarappa, Minister of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj. He should be punished accordingly. I have kept aside my dreams and taken this decision. My wife and son should get help from the Prime Minister, Chief Minister, and senior Lingayat leader Yediyurappa,” the message reads.

Read TNM’s detailed report on contractors’ corruption allegations against the BJP in Karnataka: Voted BJP for change, now we pay 40% cut as bribe: Karnataka contractors are upset

Also read:

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

‘Book Eshwarappa for murder’: Cong lashes out at BJP govt over contractor's death

CM Bommai says contractor’s death will be probed, no question of Eshwarappa resigning

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