BELAGAVI: “My three-year-old son keeps asking me where is his father and why is he not around,” said Jayashree Patil, wife of Belagavi-based civil contractor Santosh Patil, who committed suicide in Udupi on Tuesday, unable to bear the financial burden he was facing as the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Department had not cleared the bills for road works he had done at the Hindalga Gram Panchayat limits in Belagavi.
Just before committing suicide, Santosh had sent a WhatsApp message to media persons in Belagavi blaming RDPR Minster KS Eshwarappa for his death. He had earlier alleged that the minister and his associates were demanding 40 per cent as commission to clear the bills.
The death of Santosh, who was under pressure from money lenders that had funded him to take up the road works worth Rs 4 crore in Belagavi, has come as a big shock to the family, especially to his wife Jayashree and his elderly mother.
“I am shattered. Eshwarappa has broken my family and made our children orphan. My husband was under pressure as the government and Eshwarappa were not ready to clear his bills of Rs 4 crore,” Jayashree told KPCC president DK Shivakumar, who met her at their residence at Samarth Nagar in Belagavi on Wednesday.
Angry at Eshwarappa’s comment that her husband carried out all the road works without permission, Jayashree asked whether it is possible to take up so many civil works without the nod from authorities. “My husband met Eshwarappa along with Hindalga Gram Panchayat president Nagesh Manolkar before taking up the road works. We have several photos of their meetings,’’ she added.
Jayashree said she had pledged her two gold chains and four gold bangles to raise some money for her husband to take up the road works. “We had invested everything we had on the works,” she added. Santosh’s mother said that her son had taken money from various sources to complete the works. “Is it possible for a family like ours to spend Rs 4 crore? There was no option for him but to borrow money. He was upset and disturbed that his hard work did not pay off. He was cheated,’’ she added.