Bangalore: Karnataka’s ruling BJP Monday faced severe embarrassment as police raided the residences of Deputy Chief Minister K.S Eshwarappa here and in his home town Shimoga in search of evidence in a corruption case and seized around two kg gold, 37 kg silver and about Rs.1.1 million in cash.
Eshwarappa is also president of the state Bharatiya Janata Party. As deputy chief minister, he handles the revenue and panchayati raj portfolios.
A police spokesperson told reporters here that including Eshwarappa’s residences in Bangalore and Shimoga, raids were conducted at eight premises. The six other places are in Shimoga, about 280 km north of Bangalore. “Documents of assets were being examined,” the spokesperson said as police have to submit their findings to Lokayukta (ombudsman) court in Shimoga by Feb 4 next.
The Lokayukta court has ordered the police probe on a complaint by a Shimoga advocate B. Vinod that Eshwarappa had amassed properties through corrupt means.
Police Dec 15 registered an FIR (First Information Report, marking the formal launch of the police probe) against Eshwarappa, his son K.E. Kantesh and daughter-in-law Shalini.
The BJP chief, who is touring the north Karnataka town of Koppal, about 400 km from here, told reporters there that he welcomed the raids as “the truth would come out”.
Fearing arrest following the FIR, Eshwarappa and his family members have sought anticipatory bail from a Shimoga court. Hearing of the plea would resume Dec 27.
Eshwarappa has rejected Congress demands for resignation as deputy chief minister to ensure a “fair” probe. He is the latest BJP leader in Karnataka to face corruption cases.
Around 20 of the party’s 118 members, including several ministers in the 225-member assembly, are fighting corruption cases in Bangalore courts.