Not clear if contractor's death was suicide or murder: Eshwarappa

Shivamogga (Karnataka), April 16 (IANS) Former Karnataka minister K.S. Eshwarappa, who stepped down Friday after being embroiled in the contractor suicide case, said on Saturday that doubts are being raised over the death of Santhosh K. Patil, as it is not clear whether it was a case of suicide or murder.
 
Not clear if contractor's death was suicide or murder: Eshwarappa

Shivamogga (Karnataka), April 16 (IANS) Former Karnataka minister K.S. Eshwarappa, who stepped down Friday after being embroiled in the contractor suicide case, said on Saturday that doubts are being raised over the death of Santhosh K. Patil, as it is not clear whether it was a case of suicide or murder.

"I have tendered my resignation so as to not cause embarrassment to the party in connection with this case," Eshwarappa said.

Santhosh K Patil, a civil contractor and local BJP leader from Belagavi, committed suicide by consuming poison on April 12 at a lodge in Udupi.

Prior to ending his life, Patil had sent a message to mediapersons alleging that Eshwarappa had promised him to release funds for Rs 4 crore projects in the limits of Hindalga Gram Panchayat. He added that after the completion of work, Eshwarappa refused to release the money and demanded a 40 per cent commission. Udupi police have lodged an FIR against Eshwarappa, making him a prime accused in the case.

"I have been comforted by the ministers and party workers. It is the opinion of all well-wishers that there is a conspiracy behind all this against me. I also thought, fearing court notice, the deceased might have taken the extreme step. Now, doubts are raised as to whether it could be a murder. The truth has to come out during the course of the investigation," Eshwarappa said.

"Even I am sympathetic about the death of the contractor. But, he had been misused in this case. The investigations should bring out who all are behind all this. There is a big conspiracy. It has to be found out whether there is a party, or an individual or an institution behind all this. If the truth comes out, the deceased's soul will rest in peace," Eshwarappa said.

Talking about the alleged involvement of state Congress President D.K. Shivakumar, he said the investigation is going on and he would comment on it once the probe is over.

"If Opposition leaders Siddaramaiah, Shivakumar and former CM H.D. Kumaraswamy had conscience, they would not have demanded my arrest. If I have committed a mistake, let me get punished. I have faith that I will come out clean," he said.

"Why did they not arrest then minister K.J. George after a police officer held him responsible for his death before committing suicide? If grandmother (late Indira Gandhi) could not cause any harm to the BJP, how can her grandson (Rahul Gandhi) cause damage to the party," Eshwarappa asked.

--IANS

mka/arm