New Delhi: Karnataka minister KS Eshwarappa has announced that he will step down as Karnataka’s Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Minister, days after a BJP member, who had accused him of corruption, was found dead
Santhosh Patil, a BJP member and contractor, was found dead in a hotel in Udupi, weeks after he had levelled bribery charges against the senior Karnataka Minister.
Police investigating Santhosh’s death have named Eshwarappa as the first accused in the FIR. The case was registered based on a complaint from Prashanth Patil, a relative of Santhosh.
Eshwarappa, who had till a day ago said that he will not be stepping down, called for a sudden press conference on Thursday, April 14. Addressing the media in Shivamogga, he announced that he will be going to Bengaluru on Friday to submit his resignation.
“Under Chief Minister Bommai’s leadership, I have worked as RDPR minister so far. But I have decided today that I am resigning from my position as minister,” Eshwarappa said, adding that he will hand in his resignation letter on Friday. “Even if I have done 1% wrong, I pray to god to punish me. I have full faith that I will walk free from this episode. I have informed the Chief Minister that an investigation should happen and he has agreed,” he told reporters on Thursday.
The Opposition Congress had demanded Eshwarappa’s resignation following the death of Santosh Patil. Speaking to reporters on Thursday evening, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President DK Shivakumar said that Eshwarappa should be booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
“Resignation is not enough, he should be arrested so that Santhosh’s family gets justice. The allegations made by contractors’ association should be probed by a magistrate,” DK Shivakumar said, adding that the government should announce Rs 1 crore compensation to the deceased contractor’s family and a government job for his wife.
Eshwarappa, a senior leader in the state BJP unit is from the Kuruba community, the same community as former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.