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Contractor who accused K'taka min of demanding 40% commission found dead

Contractor who accused Ktaka min of demanding 40% commission found dead

Bengaluru: A contractor who had accused the Karnataka Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K S Eshwarappa of demanding 40 per cent commission for a contract, was found dead in a lodge in the coastal town of Udupi on Tuesday morning.

Police suspect it to be a case of suicide and have launched an investigation.

According to police, the body of Santosh K Patil from Belagavi district was found in a room in the private lodge. His friends were staying adjacent to his room.

Patil reportedly sent some messages to a few media houses saying that he was committing suicide and alleged that Eshwarappa was responsible for his death.

Reacting to the incident, Eshwarappa said he had no information about the suicide.

"I have no information. I had filed a case (defamation suit) against him for levelling the charges and the case was admitted. I am learning about the suicide from you (media)," Eshwarappa said.

To a query that Patil had blamed him for his death, the Minister said, "He could have written it but I have no information about it. I have no clue why he wrote my name in the death note and why he accused me. Only he can answer but he is no more."

On March 30, Patil, who had claimed himself to be a BJP worker, alleged that he had executed a work in the RDPR department and wanted the payment but Eshwarappa demanded 40 per cent commission in the Rs four crore work.

The Minister not only rubbished his charge, but also filed a defamation suit against him.

Meanwhile, Congress launched a scathing attack on the BJP over the death of Patil, and demanded an FIR against the Karnataka minister and an independent probe into the incident.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi accused the prime minister and the Karnataka chief minister of being complicit in the contractor's death, saying that the victim's pleas to them went unanswered.

"BJP's 40% Commission Government in Karnataka has claimed the life of their own Karyakarta. The victim's pleas to the PM went unanswered. The PM and CM are complicit. #BJPCorruptionFiles (sic)," Gandhi said on Twitter.

Congress general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai should lodge an FIR of murder and corruption against the minister and dismiss him, otherwise Bommai's complicity is clear.

Eshwarappa has turned down the demand of the opposition Congress seeking his resignation.

Chief Minister Bommai said the police will conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the contractor's death. He also ruled out any resignations in this regard.

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