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K’taka Minister Demands Bribe, Hasn’t Paid Bills For A Year, Says Contractor In Letter To PM

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In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister (RDPR) Giriraj Singh, Santosh K Patil, a Belagavi-based contractor, claims that Karnataka state RDPR minister KS Eshwarappa and his associates are harassing him for “commission” to clear bills that have been pending for almost a year.
Eshwarappa has refuted the claims, calling them “false and baseless.”  Eshwarappa informed Times Of India. “As soon as I learnt about this complaint, I filed a case against him, and notice will be issued soon. ”
Patil is also the national secretary of Hindu Vahini, a religious organisation, as well as a BJP activist.

Giriraj Singh’s office responded to his letter by stating that the complaint had been passed to the appropriate department. Patil had seen the Union minister in person at his Delhi home in March.

Patil claimed in his letter that he and six other contractors began road construction in the BJP-controlled Hindala village panchayats. “There was a temple fair and around that time, we met Eshwarappa asking him for grants to carry out road works,” Patil says in his letter. “The minister directed me and other contractors to start work saying he will issue a work order later.”

He and the other contractors executed 108 projects, largely on highways, for a total investment of Rs 4 crore, he added. He said that the funds were borrowed with interest and that creditors are seeking payback. The gram panchayat president, Nagesh Manolkar, claimed that work was completed on time, but accepted that the government did not pay.

“It is the duty of the government to pay contractors as they borrowed loans on interest and they are now on the verge of bankruptcy,” Patil said.

He said that the work was finished in May 2021, and that he met with Eshwarappa multiple times to urge him to pay the expenses. However, he then claimed that he was compelled to pay a Rs 15 lakh commission, as well as a one-time payment of approximately 40% of the entire price, by Eshwarappa’s colleagues.
Patil claimed he met with Arun Singh, the BJP’s national general secretary in charge of Karnataka, and BL Santosh, the party’s national general secretary (organisation), both of whom pledged assistance. Patil is now waiting for the Prime Minister’s office to respond.

Last year, the Karnataka State Contractors Association wrote to Prime Minister Modi, stating that in order to get contracts and begin construction on projects, they had to pay up to 40% to elected leaders and government employees.

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