K’taka CM Bommai Rules Out Action Against Minister Eshwarappa Until Preliminary Inquiry is Completed

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday ruled out any action against Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Minister K S Eshwarappa, against whom police have booked a case for abetting the suicide of contractor Santosh Patil, until preliminary inquiry is completed. He said Santosh Patil’s suicide case will be thoroughly investigated and the truth will come out, and only based on the preliminary inquiry the government will decide on taking action against Eshwarappa.

“There is no interference of (BJP) high command on this issue, they have only obtained information, they don’t have any role in it. As I have said first time itself, action will be taken based on the preliminary inquiry, let the preliminary inquiry happen,” Bommai said in response to a question regarding the BJP high command’s decision on Eshwarappa’s future as Minister.

Speaking to reporters here, he said, “Post-mortem has happened only late last night, investigation will begin now on. Based on the outcome of the investigation, we will decide. In my first day first reaction itself I have said that without preliminary inquiry there will be no action (against Eshwarappa).”

Asked whether the case will be handed over to any other agency for probe, the Chief Minister said, “preliminary investigation is going on (from police), let’s see based on it, what will happen.” Resisting pressure on him to step down, Eshwarappa on Wednesday had maintained that he will not quit.

Santosh Patil, a Belagavi-based contractor was found dead in an Udupi hotel on Tuesday, weeks after accusing Eshwarappa, who is also a senior BJP leader, of corruption. In a purported suicide note in the form of a WhatsApp message, Patil has blamed Eshwarappa for his death.

Based on a complaint filed by Patil’s relative, Udupi town police have booked Eshwarappa for abetting the suicide. Responding to Congress leaders planning to gherao him over corruption charges against the government and demanding Eshwarappa’s removal, Bommai said that the principal opposition party doesn’t have any moral rights, as he also accused them of playing politics on the issue.

“Several murders happened during the Congress regime, they had withdrawn cases against organisations involved in such murders. As there was anarchy in the state, people rejected them. They don’t have any moral rights. They are doing it for political gains,” he said. Reacting to Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah’s allegation about corruption in the CM’s office and some Ministers, Bommai said, there is no need to respond to such baseless allegations.

“Let them share if they have any evidence, we will get it investigated…..When Siddaramaiah was Chief Minister there were several cases and allegations of corruption, there was a big scam in BDA (Bengaluru Development Authority). What rights does he have? He is in a responsible position, if he shares information on a specific cases, we will get it investigated or responded to.”

The Karnataka State Contractors Association (KSCA) has threatened that its members will stop civil works for a month starting from May 25 to protest against corruption in various government departments.

Replying to a question on this, Bommai said, “There are several contractors associations …I don’t know what they will decide. Tell them (association) to share if they have any specific information or evidence. You (media) have to question them and ask them how many times they will make such vague allegations. If they share specific cases I will definitely get them investigated.” .

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