An 85-page report – along with 2,000 documents, forensic reports and a B-report (closure report) – was presented to the People’s Representatives Court in Bengaluru on Wednesday. The report said cops found “no evidence” to support the allegations made against the former minister by Patil before taking the extreme step.
The investigating team reportedly analysed 10-12 mobile phones and several audio files. A financial burden has allegedly forced the contractor to take the extreme step, it concluded.
Except for the statements and claims by Patil’s family members and claims, there were no witnesses to back the abetment charge.
Some witnesses told police that Patil was under pressure to return the money he had borrowed for road works, which were reportedly taken up without work orders. The forensic report said he had consumed pesticide, an officer said.
Patil, who was found dead in a lodge in Udupi city on April 12, had held Eshwarappa responsible for his death through a WhatsApp message sent to friends, relatives and journalists. “Eshwarappa is responsible for my death. He has to be punished. I’ve suppressed all my desires and (am) doing this . I request PM Modi, CM Bommai and BS Yediyurappa (former CM) to take care of my family,” Patil’s WhatsApp message read.
Based on a complaint filed by Patil’s relative, Udupi Town police had booked Eshwarappa on charges of abetment to suicide. The former minister was named the first accused; his aides Basavaraj, Ramesh and others were booked under IPC section 306 read with 34. Following this case, Eshwarappa was forced to resign as minister.
The B-report mentioned that police submitted CCTV footage, audio recordings, messages, bank statements, contract details and statements recorded by them to the court, but this technical evidence was not enough to substantiate the charges.Sources said Patil’s family may request the government or appeal before a court for a CID probe .
Eshwarappa said the clean chit was an answer to the opposition. “I’m happy to know that police have filed a B-report in the case. I had not done anything wrong.” Asked if he would make a comeback to the ministry, he said, “Making me a minister is for the party to decide. I’ll abide by its decision.”
The relief for Eshwarappa comes 3-4 days after Patil’s wife wrote to the Karnataka governor expressing doubts about the inquiry into the case. She had objected to police for reportedly not interrogating Eshwarappa in the case.
A few weeks before he died by suicide, Patil wrote a letter addressed to PM Modi in which he alleged that Eshwarappa hadn’t cleared bills due to him. He had accused Eshwarappa’s aides of demanding 40% commission for the release of the payment.
Congress state president DK Shivakumar said he is not surprised since Bommai and home minister Araga Jnanendra had said Eshwarappa would come out clean even before the probe began in earnest.