Congress leaders on Tuesday demanded the arrest of Karnataka BJP MLA Arvind Limbavali and five others named in the FIR in connection with the alleged suicide of a businessman, and urged the state government to ensure justice to his family.
Siddaramaiah, who is Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Assembly and Randeep Surjewala, who is Congress general secretary in-charge of the State, along with KPCC working president Ramalinga Reddy, met Pradeep’s family at their residence here.
Pradeep (47) was found dead in his car at Nettigere near here on Sunday. He had allegedly shot himself in the head inside his car.
The deceased had purportedly left behind an eight-page death note that named Mahadevapura MLA Aravind Limbavali and five others, following which an FIR was registered by the police against them.
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”This is an unfortunate incident linked to a financial deal, it should not have happened. Pradeep’s wife Namita with sorrow said her husband should get justice and that he had invested Rs 1.5 crore into a financial deal, out of which there was no profit of even a paisa so far. The family wants that money back,” Siddaramaiah said.
Speaking to reporters after meeting the family, he said, as MLA of the locality, Arvind Limbavali is said to have tried to settle things.
”Namita is not alleging anything, she is only saying that she wants justice and was not angry with anyone, but when the inference is drawn, six names are mentioned in the death note, which also includes the name of Limbavali. If his name is taken, he is in some way responsible for the death, or else why he would write,” he added.
Noting that the FIR has been registered against Limbavali and five others, the Congress legislature party leader said police should immediately ensure the financial issue is settled and the family gets the money that was invested by Pradeep.
”Also, immediately everyone should be arrested and action should be taken in accordance with law against those responsible for the death. Arrest should happen and criminal trial should follow, and police should ensure that the culprits are punished whether it is a MLA or anyone else. Mistake is a mistake, whoever it may be, they should be punished as per law,” he said.
Suggesting that if not arrested, he claimed evidence may be destroyed by the accused. ”Family even alleged that the police took the mobile phone late at night. Police trying to link different angles to the case now is not correct,” he said.
Referring to a similar case against then Minister K S Eshwarappa in connection with the death of a contractor, who made bribery charges against him, Siddaramaiah said the case was closed and demanded that the government should not interfere in the process of law.
”Many incidents of such suicides, mercy petitions are cropping up recently, it is because of corruption and inaction against the corrupt,” he alleged.
Limbavali on his part has said that he had only tried to help Pradeep, and was ready for any inquiry. ”In fact, I demand for an inquiry, for the truth to come out.” The legislator said he doesn’t know as to what was the motive behind mentioning his name in the death note, and ruled out the possibility of any conspiracy against him.
Surjewala said Pradeep was a victim of the ”dubious corrupt practices” in the state, and demanded that all perpetrators of this ”murder” have to be arrested, whether they are a MLA or a senior BJP leader or somebody else, and the government must ensure every penny is returned to the family.
”In this hour of grief and with a heavy heart, I have to say that the dubious deal and 40 per cent commission is now claiming life after life in Karnataka,” he said, pointing at the recent deaths of contractors – Santosh Patil and Suresh – stating that they committed suicide because of the financial problems and that they couldn’t pay commission.
Questioning as to why should a legislator or a BJP leader be negotiating financial settlements as a judge and jury, Surjewala asked, why should BJP leaders meddle into financial affairs of people.
”Driving a 47-year-old happy man with a happy family to suicide is nothing but a murder, it is not abetment to murder, it is plain and simple murder,” he said, asking can the Chief Minister and BJP leaders wipe the tears of the family.
Congress will see to it that justice is done with regard to Pradeep’s suicide notice and what happened with Sandeep Patil suicide case don’t repeat, Surjewala said.
”We want to remind Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai the raja dharma and his duty towards the people of Karnataka, which is above any BJP leader,” he said.
Santosh Patil case, which both leaders repeatedly referred to was regarding the Belagavi-based contractor who was found dead at a hotel in Udupi in April last year, weeks after accusing then Minister Eshwarappa, who is also a senior BJP leader, of corruption.