The Karnataka Police have booked a case under IPC Sections 34 and 306 against K.S. Eshwarappa, the Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj in connection with the suicide case of a contractor and BJP leader Santhosh K. Patil.
Inspector General of Police (West) Deva Jyothi Ray said on Wednesday that a case has been booked against Minister Eshwrappa and his two associates. The police have started panchanama (a document having legal bearings which records evidence and findings that an officer makes at the scene of crime) process. It is being done in the presence of the family members, he said.
All digital and circumstantial evidence available in the spot would be collected. A case of unnatural death was registered earlier and after FIR, suicide case has been lodged. “We will conduct a probe from all angles,” he said.
Deceased contractor’s brother Prashanth Goudappa Patil had lodged a complaint and named Eshwarappa as the prime accused in the case. He has also named Basavaraj, Ramesh and the aides of Eshwarappa as the second and third accused in the case.
The police have booked case under IPC 34 (criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) and 306 (abetment to suicide). The complaint mentioned that deceased Santhosh Patil met Minister Eshwarappa during 2020-21 along with the elders of the village and religious seer in the backdrop of religious fair and development of infrastructure in the limits of Hindalga Gram Panchayat limits.
It is alleged in the complaint that Minister Eshwarappa had assured them to start the work and he would get the grants released. The elders of the village had asked Santhosh Patil to commence the work. Accordingly, he had begun the work of Rs 4 crore by roping in other contractors without any government order.
After completion of the work, Santhosh Patil had approached Eshwarappa, his associates Basavaraju and Ramesh several times for the release of funds. But, they demanded 40 per cent cut and refused to release the grants.
The Contractors Association of Belagavi had submitted a complaint regarding this and Santhosh Patil had also come before the media and discussed about 40 per cent commission demand. Santhosh Patil had told his wife Jaya that he had repeatedly visited Bengaluru to get the funds released for his projects.
He had also made a video warning Minister Eshwarappa and other two accused that if anything happens to him, they will be held responsible. He had also approached the BJP headquarters in New Delhi and submitted complaints regarding the 40 per cent commission demand. He had also complained to the office of Prime Minister Modi.
As he could not get the bills passed, Santhosh Patil committed suicide. “Minister Eshwarappa and other two accused are directly responsible for the death,” the complainant mentioned in his 5-page complaint to the police. The police have taken the mobile phone of the deceased and other materials from the lodge into their custody.
The family members are demanding the arrest of Minister Eshwarappa and claiming that until he is arrested they would not receive the body. Minister for Large and Medium Industries Murugesh Nirani paid a visit to the residence of deceased contractor in Belagavi and tried to assuage the family members.