Bangalore: In a huge embarrassment to the ruling BJP in Karnataka, Lokayukta sleuths today conducted searches at residences of Deputy Chief Minister and state unit chief K S Eshwarappa here and in Shimoga in connection with FIR filed against him in a disproportionate assets case.

The sleuths also searched six other offices and business premises in the district headquarter town of Shimoga, from where Esharappa hails, including two institutions and a travel company, "supposedly owned by him" and two stamp-vendors looking for documents to nail him, Lokayukta sources said.

Eshwarappa holds Revenue and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj portfolios in the Jagadish Shettar government and the probe against him is seen as a huge embarrassment to the BJP, hit by several scandals linked to some ministers and its leaders.

“I welcome it. I see it as an opportunity for truth to come out. I am confident of coming out of this (come clean on the probe)", Eshwarappa said in his reaction to the searches. After the FIR was filed, he had last week dismissed suggestions for his resignation from Cabinet, noting that the probe was ordered based on a private complaint and it was not fair on the part of opposition parties to demand his scalp.

(Agencies)

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