Senior Congress leaders in Karnataka were detained on Thursday during a protest march towards Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s house in Bengaluru, ANI reported. They were demanding the resignation of Rural Development Minister KS Eshwarappa for allegedly abetting contractor Santosh Patil’s suicide.
The detained leaders include DK Shivakumar, president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, and Siddaramaiah, leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.
The leaders have also demanded that the police arrest Eshwarappa on charges of corruption for allegedly asking the contractor for a bribe, ANI reported.
In March, the contractor, Patil, had told The News Minute that Eshwarappa had demanded 40% bribe on a project.
On Tuesday, Patil allegedly died after consuming a poisonous substance.
The Belagavi police had launched a search for Patil on Monday, after his friends received a WhatsApp message in which he blamed Eshwarappa for his death.
Meanwhile, Eshwarappa has said that he did not know Patil. He added 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.
The police, however, have booked Eshwarappa in connection with Patil’s alleged suicide.
Some Congress leaders who met Patil’s wife after his death alleged that Eshwarappa was directly responsible for it, The Hindu reported.
“This is not suicide, but murder,” said Randeep Singh Surjewala, general secretary of Congress. “It is an open and shut case of murder. Eshwarappa should be arrested immediately.”
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday said that the Congress “doesn’t have any moral right to protest”, ANI reported.
“Congress is a Gangotri of corruption,” Bommai said. “Postmortem was done yesterday and now preliminary inquiry [report] will come, and based on that we’ll proceed.”