contractor death Karnataka

Post facto approvals for projects is a common practice: Former Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi

Former minister and BJP MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K
The Hindu BureauApril 16, 2022 12:09 IST
Updated: April 16, 2022 12:10 IST

An audio of former Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi’s purported talk with contractor Santosh Patil’s relatives has been widely shared on social media, in which he claims to have advised Santosh Patil, the contractor who had accused former Minister K S Eshwarappa of corruption, not to go public with his allegations.

The clip, reportedly recorded at Badas, the ancestral village of Santosh Patil, features the voices of contractor’s wife, mother, brothers and cousins. Ramesh Jarkiholi met Santosh Patil’s relatives in Badas village after the final rites of the contractor who ended his life in Udupi on April 12.

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“Santosh Patil was very close to me. A few months ago, he met me to complain about his pending bills. I had advised him not to go to the media. These are all projects carried out without work orders. I had warned him that if he went public with the issue, he would not get the money. I had told him to focus on getting his money back, rather than go to the TV or media,’’ he is heard saying.

He asks the family not to worry about the pending bills. “Santosh Patil has not done any personal projects. All his works were for the benefit of the public. He has laid roads in the village as he wanted to prepare for the annual jatra (festival). This is very common in government,’’ he says. “Post facto approvals are nothing new. Such works happen in most departments. I have got done works worth tens of crores of rupees in Gokak. But you need to get them approved by running around various offices in the government. Nothing can be done about it,’’ he says.

He asks the family not to listen to Congress leaders. In a veiled reference to Lakshmi Hebbalkar, Congress MLA from Belagavi Rural constituency, he tells the family, “Do not believe in these leaders who were trying to delay the funeral. They will be here for two days, and then leave. You will be left to fend for yourselves later.”

Asked to comment on the audio recording, Mr. Jarkiholi said he would answer all such questions during a meet with mediapersons in Belagavi on April 18.

Earlier, Mr. Jarkiholi had claimed that Santosh Patil was with him while he was in the Congress, and shifted to the BJP along with him. Ramesh Jarkiholi told journalists in Badas that Santosh Patil had been his supporter for a long time. Santosh Patil was a member of the Belagavi Rural unit of the BJP and national secretary of the Hindu Yuva Vahini.

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