Karnataka Rural Development & Panchayat Raj Minister and strong OBC leader KS Eshwarappa has resigned following allegations of his involvement in the reported suicide of a civil contractor, who was found dead in a hotel in Udupi on Tuesday. Eshwarappa submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday evening. Eshwarappa said that he was quitting “to prevent embarrassment to the BJP”. The elder brother of the contractor has lodged a First Information Report with the Police alleging that the influential minister must be prosecuted for abetment to his suicide. Congress leaders are demanding his immediate arrest. According to the police, the minister has been booked as the prime accused under Section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Two of the minister’s aides are also mentioned in the FIR. Forty years old Santosh Patil, a BJP member from Belagavi, had reportedly approached Eshwarappa for payment of his outstanding bills. The deceased had alleged that Eshwarappa was harassing him for the commission to clear the bills for some works. The departed had also said that Eshwarappa should be held responsible if something happened to him. ANI says Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar and Leader of Opposition Siddaramaih demanded action against the BJP leader asking Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to sack him. “We have appealed to the Governor to dismiss KS Eshwarappa, get him arrested…Secondly, a corruption case should be registered against him given that he would seek 40% commission from his own people, including contractor Santosh Patil. CM Bommai said there was no need for the Opposition to become an investigation officer, prosecutor and judge in the case. Accusing the Congress of hypocrisy, Bommai asked “Was K J George (Minister during Congress rule who was blamed by a police officer before committing suicide) arrested by the Congress government? Neither the Karnataka police nor the CBI arrested him despite the NDA government at the Centre. Police will decide if they need to arrest or not.” Former BJP minister Ramesh Jarkiholi has claimed that a group of people, including “a Mahanayak”, were involved in a 2021 attempt at framing him in a rape case, were behind the contractor’s death. “I will hold a press conference on Monday to reveal details about the death of Santhosh Patil. The same team that was involved in my case is involved in this conspiracy against Eshwarappa, he said. Edited by PK Chakravarty
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