Karnataka Minister KS Eshwarappa, Named In Suicide Case, Resigns

“I am also confident that I will come out clean,” KS Eshwarappa said before resigning.

Bengaluru:

BJP stalwart and Karnataka minister KS Eshwarappa, caught in a huge controversy following allegations of corruption and a role in the suicide of a contractor, has resigned from his cabinet post. After a meeting with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai at his residence in Bengaluru, Mr Eshwarappa submitted his resignation.

State Ministers Bairati Basavaraj, MTB Nagaraj, Araga Jnanendra and MLA Ramesh Jharkiholi were also present at the Chief Minister’s residence while Eshwarappa tendered his resignation.

While leaving for Bengaluru from his constituency Shivamogga earlier this evening, he had asked his supporters not to worry as he “will be back”. In a massive show of strength, a huge convoy of cars accompanied him as he drove to the capital to resign. In Shivamogga, supporters protested against his “forced resignation”.

“I don’t want to cause any trouble for my seniors and well-wishers in the party. So, I am meeting the Chief Minister in the evening to submit my resignation. I am also confident that I will come out clean.” he told reporters.

He said it is to set a benchmark for the workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party, who “should feel that they will not get power until they come out clean and innocent”.

“All the workers, MLAs, and leaders across the state are calling and supporting me. They expressed confidence that no BJP worker can commit such a mistake,” Mr Eshwarappa said while adding that he is sure of coming out clean in the “Agni Pariksha. “.

On being asked about Congress MLA Priyank Kharge’s charge of other people too involved in the ‘40% cut money scandal ‘, Mr Eshwarappa said, “Why doesn’t he (Mr Kharge) name even one of the people behind this scandal?”

Contractor Santhosh Patil, who died on Tuesday, accused Mr Eashwarappa, who handles the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj portfolio, and has named the minister in his last phone messages, saying he was “solely responsible” for his death. In his last WhatsApp messages to friends and political leaders, he had reportedly marked Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well.

Mr Eshwarappa, he alleged, had demanded “40 per cent cut money” to clear a Rs 4 crore bill for work he had done for the Rural Development department.

Santosh Patil had reportedly been given an oral instruction by the minister for a Rs 4-crore project in the rural parts of the state. But even after 18 months, he had not received any payment for the job, to complete which, he had to borrow money and even sell his wife’s jewelery.

The state’s powerful contractor lobbies have admitted that there is an existing culture of commission, which goes well beyond 40 per cent.

Karnataka BJP strongman BS Yediyurappa, standing by his old friend, has expressed confidence that he will come out clear from all allegations and return as a minister soon.

Mr Eshwarappa’s declaration came hours after Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai assured his continuing as part of the cabinet. The decision, he told NDTV in an exclusive interview, will depend on the outcome of the preliminary inquiry. Mr Eshwarappa was also not willing to step down, and expressly told reporters that if “they are asking for my resignation, I won’t give one”.

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