Congress again starts protests demanding KS Eshwarappa's resignation


Karnataka Congress leaders - detained Thursday morning during protests demanding minister KS Eshwarappa's resignation in connection with contractor Santosh Patil's death - protested again in front of the Vidhana Soudha to emphasise calls that he quit. The day's second protest came after senior Congress leaders, including state chief DK Shivakumar and leader of the opposition Siddaramaiah, were released from detention. Police had stopped them marching on chief minister Basavaraj Bommai's residence. Apart from Eshwarappa's resignation, the Congress leaders also demanded his arrest and registration of an FIR with corruption charges against the state panchayat raj minister for allegedly demanding commission from Patil. "We'll continue to protest here all night," DK Shivakumar, who was in front of the Vidhana Soudha said. Santosh Patil died by suicide on Tuesday and his body was discovered by police in Karnataka's Udupi district. Patil had claimed to be a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker and accused minister Eshwarappa of demanding a commission of 40 per cent for roadworks worth ₹4 crore.

The contractor also sent a message to media houses saying he was taking his own life and blamed Eshwarappa for his death. On Wednesday Udupi police booked Eshwarappa for abetting Patil's suicide. The police filed an FIR following a complaint filed by Santhosh Patil's brother Prashanth, who named the minister and his staff members, Ramesh and Basavaraj, as the accused. Eshwarappa has insisted he will not step down from the post at this time, and also dismissed the deceased contractor's allegation that he had demanded a commission.

Meanwhile, chief minister Bommai said Thursday that no action will be taken against Eshwarappa until the preliminary inquiry is completed. Bommai also said Patil's suicide would be thoroughly investigated and there will be no interference from the ruling party.

Santosh Patil's mortal remains arrived at his residence in Belagavi earlier on Thursday, a day after his family refused to accept the body till the accused were arrested.

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