Resignation not enough, Eshwarappa must be arrested: Karnataka Congress

Bengaluru: Hours after underfire Karnataka minister K.S. Eshwarappa announced to tender his resignation, the state Congress said on Thursday that resignation is not sufficient, and the BJP leader must be arrested immediately in connection with the suicide case of a civil contractor who held Eshwarappa directly responsible for his death.

The move came after the police had filed an abetment to suicide case against Eshwarappa, the Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, after Belagavi-based civil contractor, Santhosh Patil, was found dead at a lodge on Tuesday. Patil, who had blamed Eshwarappa squarely for his death, had earlier accused the senior minister of demanding a 40 percent cut for clearing bills for various works that he had taken up.

“I have worked as the RDPR minister till date under CM (Basavraj) Bommai’s leadership in the government. I have taken a decision to tender my resignation on Friday evening. I don’t want to cause embarrassment to my party and party leadership,” Eshwarappa said on Thursday.

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Speaking to reporters, state Congress President D.K. Shivakumar said that Eshwarappa will not keep his words.

“Our struggle won’t stop with his resignation. The FIR speaks many facts relating to corruption. He must be booked under Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and he must be arrested immediately,” Shivakumar said.

Opposition leader Siddaramaiah demanded that it is a ‘heinous crime’ and non-bailable offence.

“In all heinous crimes, the accused persons are arrested immediately. But Eshwarappa has not been arrested yet. All are equal before the law,” Siddaramaiah said.

“By deciding to submit his resignation, Eshwarappa has realised his mistakes. First he claimed he did not know Santhosh at all. Did he lodge a defamation case against him without knowing Santhosh at all,” Siddaramaiah asked.

Congress General Secretary and in-charge for Karnataka, Randeep Singh Surjewala, tweeted: “Minister Eshwarappa’s belated resignation is too little, too late. Eshwarappa has to be arrested. Section 13 of Prevention of Corruption Act must be added to the FIR. High Court monitored SIT must investigate & file challan. Independent probe of 40% Commission Bommai Govt!”

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that Eshwarappa has tendered resignation on his own.

He also denied any direction from the BJP high command in this regard.

“Eshwarappa spoke to me this evening. He told me that he is innocent and did not do anything. He also expressed confidence that he would come out clean in the investigation. He said he will meet me tomorrow (Friday) and also stated that he will not stay in his post as it might embarrass the party,” Bommai said.

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