The police on Tuesday booked Karnataka Rural Development KS Eshwarappa in connection with the alleged suicide of a contractor in Udupi, NDTV reported. Two of his aides, Basavaraj and Ramesh, have also been booked.

The police said Eshwarappa has been charged under Section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code, according to The Indian Express. A first information report had been filed in the case based on a complaint lodged by the contractor’s brother.

The contractor, Santhosh Patil, who was also a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, allegedly died after consuming a poisonous substance. His body was found at the city’s Shambhavi Lodge where he had checked in on April 11.

In a WhatsApp message purportedly sent by him, Patil had accused Eshwarappa of demanding a bribe to grant him the contract for a government project. In the message sent to his friends, he had blamed Eshwarappa to be “directly responsible” for his death.

“RDPR minister KS Eshwarappa is solely responsible for my death,” the message stated. “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.”

On Wednesday, Eshwarappa said he would not resign from his position. “If they are asking for my resignation, I will definitely not give my resignation,” he said, according to NDTV.

The minister questioned how a WhatsApp message can be treated as a “death note”, alleging it could have been written by anybody.

“Santosh Patil wanted payment for his work without norms,” he alleged. “I want to ask the Congress, did you, when in power, release payment without a work order?”

Last month, Patil had told The News Minute that Eshwarappa had demanded 40% of the project’s allocation as a bribe to grant him the contract. Patil had started construction of a road in Hindalga town based on verbal assurance from Eshwarappa.

“But neither the work order was raised, nor was the payment released,” Patil had said “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.”

On Tuesday, Eshwarappa had denied having any links to Patil and said that he had filed a defamation suit against the contractor.

“After I filed the defamation suit, a notice was sent to him [Patil],” he told reporters in Mysuru, according to The Indian Express. “Now I have learnt through you [media] that he has killed himself. Other than that, I don’t know anything else.”

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday said that he would speak to Eshwarappa about the case.

“[I] have gathered all information...I will speak with Eshwarappa,” Bommai told reporters, according to ANI. “I don’t know what he [Eshwarappa] said [about resignation]. It will be cleared when we speak directly.”

On Tuesday, Bommai had said that there was no chance of asking Eshwarappa to resign.

Congress delegation meets governor

Meanwhile, a Congress delegation, including former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and state unit chief DK Shivakumar, met Karnataka Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot regarding Patil’s death, ANI reported.

“We have appealed to the Governor to dismiss KS Eshwarappa and get him arrested,” Shivakumar told reporters after the meeting, according to ANI. “Secondly, a corruption case should be registered against him [Eshwarappa] given that he would seek 40% commission from his own people.”

He added that the governor said he would speak with the concerned authorities about the case.