Acting tough, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa today divested Social Welfare Minister D Sudhakara of his portfolio and suspended a senior official after a public outcry over the death of 22 beggars in just three days at a government-run Centre here.
As the death toll mounted to 22, the opposition parties and public rapped the government for its failure to provide proper medicare to inmates of the state's only Beggar Relief Centre.
Yeddyurappa, soon after his return from Bellary where he participated in a BJP rally, stripped Sudhakar of the portfolio and entrusted it to Minister for Minor Irrigation, Govind M Karjol.
Sudhakar has been allocated Religious Endowments which was held additionally by Home Minister Dr V S Acharya.
Yeddyurappa also removed Manjesh Gowda as Chairman of the Relief Centre, suspended its Secretary Krishnegowda and replaced him with Joint Director of Social Welfare Ramaiah.
Sudhakar is one among the five independents supporting the BJP government.
Earlier today, a four-member ministerial team headed by Acharya went to the Centre, enquired about the health condition of the inmates and inspected the condition there.
Acharya directed a medical team to conduct an inquiry and to submit its findings by tomorrow.
He said an expert committee would be formed to guide the government on long-term, short-term and medium term steps to bring about improvements in the working of the Centre.
Speaking to reporters after visiting the Centre, he said most inmates suffer from various ailments, some terminally ill.
He was accompanied by Law Minister S Suresh Kumar, Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai, besides Sudhakara.
Two more persons died since last night.
In another development, the authorities allowed several inmates who wanted to leave the Centre, to go home.
Yeddyurappa said a senior IAS officer would conduct a probe into the deaths. He is also visiting the Centre tomorrow.