Bengaluru: Karnataka Congress leaders were on Thursday stopped and detained when they were marching towards Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s residence demanding sacking of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K.S. Eshwarappa in connection with contractor’s suicide case.
AICC General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, Opposition leader Siddaramaiah, State Congress President D.K. Shivakumar and other prominent leaders were taken into custody near the Race Course Road. They were released later.
Since that there is an FIR against Minister Eshwarappa regarding the death of Santhosh K. Patil, how can he continue in the position? Where is the provision under the constitution to continue him? CM Bommai is acting against the constitution, alleged Surjewala.
“Congress has started a protest march for making Karnataka a corruption-free state. The party has started agitation with the programme of laying siege to the CM Bommai’s residence. Every Kannadiga should raise his voice. This is not a political struggle, this is a struggle against corruption,” he added.
Opposition leader Siddaramaiah charged that Minister Eshwarappa is directly responsible for the contractor’s death. “All our leaders have visited his home and paid condolences. Patil’s wife claimed that Eshwarappa is responsible for the death of her husband. He had demanded Rs 1.40 crore as bribe from Patil, this has been agreed by his family members. We want corruption charges to be added in the FIR against Eshwarappa,” he said.
The protest would begin in all districts from Friday. CM Bommai need not wait till the preliminary report. There is a statement from the deceased contractor’s wife. Do not protect the minister, Siddaramaiah said.
Santhosh K. Patil, a contractor from Belagavi who is also a leader of BJP, committed suicide after consuming poison at a lodge in Udupi. He had alleged in the message sent to mediapersons from his mobile that Minister Eshwarappa is directly responsible for his death. He stated that Eshwarappa demanded 40 per cent commission in works executed at a cost of Rs 4 crore surrounding his village.
Karnataka police have lodged an FIR against Minister Eshwarappa and are investigating the case. The minister has stated that there is no question of tendering resignation and urged for a probe to unveil the conspiracy. CM Bommai has maintained that he would take a call on the issue of resignation of Eshwarappa once he gets a preliminary report from the police.