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Contractor's Death: Karnataka CM Bommai Rejects Interference in Inquiry

PTI

Last Updated: April 16, 2022, 14:55 IST

Karnataka RDPR minister KS Eshwarappa (R) submits his resignation to chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, in Bengaluru, Friday, April 15, 2022. (PTI Photo)

Karnataka RDPR minister KS Eshwarappa (R) submits his resignation to chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, in Bengaluru, Friday, April 15, 2022. (PTI Photo)

The Congress wants to be an investigator, prosecutor and judge in the contractor's suicide case and it cannot happen, Bommai said people are aware how the national party shut several cases while in power.

\Accusing the opposition Congress of wanting to be investigator, prosecutor and judge in the case relating to civil contractor Santosh Patil's death, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday dismissed allegations of interference by his government in the investigation.

Following a political furore that erupted on the issue, senior BJP leader K S Eshwarappa, against whom police have booked a case of abetment to suicide, submitted his resignation as the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Minister on Friday night.

"Santosh Patil's suicide is being investigated, postmortem has been done, FSL (forensic science laboratory) report will come. On the basis of it, what has happened will be scientifically known," Bommai said in response to Congress' questioning, as to why Eshwarappa has not been booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Speaking to reporters here, he recalled that during Siddaramaiah-led Congress government's tenure in K J George (former Minister) case, the police, despite having video allegations against him and the death note, did not mention his name in the FIR, and there was an attempt to shut the case, and the court had to issue an order, when the deceased police officer M K Ganapathy's family approached it.

"But, we have filed FIR (in Santosh Patil case) as per the complaint and accordingly the investigation is on….based on the progress of investigation, further sections may be added, let the investigation happen," he added. M K Ganapathy, who was Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mangaluru, had allegedly killed himself at a lodge in Kodagu on July 7, 2016. In a video message before suicide, he had named the then Home Minister K J George, and two top IPS officers responsible for his extreme step.

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The Congress wants to be an investigator, prosecutor and judge in the contractor's suicide case and it cannot happen, Bommai said people are aware how the national party shut several cases while in power. "When, what section has to be invoked, what provisions, will happen as per law. The government has in no way interfered. Just because I brought out what they (Congress) in during the George case, they have accused me of giving a certificate (of innocence to Eshwarappa), did I give a certificate?" he said.

There is law and investigation will take place in accordance with it, he said, the veracity of the investigation will be analysed in the court, when the charge sheet is submitted. Accusing the state government and Bommai of trying to protect Eshwarappa, the Congress on Friday had demanded his arrest and that a case be registered against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The opposition party also urged that an impartial investigation be conducted by the police under the supervision of a sitting judge of the Karnataka High Court. Noting that Congress is going on a statewide protest against corruption, as though they are very clean handed, Bommai said, "people are aware of what Congress is, let them first calculate the number of skeletons of corruption in their cupboard….they are trying to set a narrative, we will place before the people about their corruptions." Asked whether the Santosh Patil suicide cases will be handed over to CID or other agency for further probe, he said, "Let the preliminary inquiry happen first, based on the need, we will decide." Santosh Patil, a Belagavi-based contractor, was found dead at a hotel in Udupi on Tuesday, weeks after accusing Eshwarappa, who is also a senior BJP leader, of corruption.

In a purported suicide note in the form of a WhatsApp message, Patil had blamed Eshwarappa for his death. Patil last month complained to Union Rural Development Minister Giriraj Singh and also BJP central leaders stating that he was yet to be paid Rs four crore for road works undertaken in Hindalga village and had accused Eshwarappa's aides of demanding 40 percent commission for the release of the payment.

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first published:April 16, 2022, 14:55 IST
last updated:April 16, 2022, 14:55 IST