A contractor who had accused Karnataka Rural Development and Panchayat Minister KS Eshwarappa of demanding a bribe was found dead in a lodge in Udupi on Tuesday, The Hindu reported.

The contractor, Santhosh Patil, who is also a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, allegedly died after consuming a poisonous substance. According to the police, he had arrived at the Shambhavi lodge with his friends on April 11. The next morning, his friends got no response when they knocked on his door. After the staff opened up Patil’s room, they found his body, the newspaper reported.

The Belagavi police had launched a search for Patil on April 11, after his friends received a WhatsApp message, blaming Eshwarappa to be “directly responsible” for his death.

“RDPR minister KS Eshwarappa is solely responsible for my death,” said the message, according to NDTV. “I am taking this decision keeping my aspirations aside. I request with folded hands to our prime minister [Narendra Modi], chief minister [Basavaraj Bommai], our beloved lingayat leader BSY [Yeddyurappa] and everybody else to extend a helping hand to my wife and kids.”

Last month, Patil had told The News Minute that Eshwarappa had demanded 40% bribe in a project. Patil had started road work in Hindalga based on verbal assurance given by Eshwarappa.

“But neither the work order was raised, nor was the payment released,” he had told The News Minute. “When I kept following up with Eshwarappa, some of his assistants asked me for 40% of the total project – almost Rs 4 crore – to have the total payment processed.”

Eshwarappa has said that he does not know Patil, NDTV reported. He said that since he is “not at fault”, he will not resign from his position, and will wait on the verdict of the defamation case he has filed against Patil.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has said that there is no chance of asking Eshwarappa to resign over Patil’s death, The News Minute reported. He said that the police will investigate the matter impartially, and action will be taken after the investigation.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala called for Eshwarappa’s arrest and dismissal from his post. He also demanded an independent probe, and accused Bommai of “discounting the death of a BJP worker and dishonouring him, only to protect corruption.”