Agartala: A Tripura Minister and an MP on Wednesday alleged that unprecedented corruption and siphoning of public funds had taken place during the 25 year-rule of previous Left Front government.
Addressing the media here, Law and Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath and Lok Sabha member Pratima Bhowmik said that as per the pre-poll promise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government all types of corruption and irregularities would be probed and the guilty would be punished.
Nath and Bhowmik’s announcement comes after the vigilance wing of the Tripura Police filed charges aginst former Public Works Department (PWD) and Finance Minister Badal Choudhury, former Principal Secretary (PWD) YP Singh and ex-PWD Chief Engineer Sunil Bhowmik in connection with “misdeeds in implementations of over Rs 638 crore of 13 projects during the previous Left Front government in the 2008-09 FY”.
Police arrested Sunil Bhowmik on late Sunday night soon after police registered an FIR at the West Tripura Police Station under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act. A police hunt is on to nab Choudhury and Singh.
“The PWD Department of the previous Left Front government in 2008-09 fiscal clubbing 13 projects (five each of bridge and building projects and three road project) implemented at a cost of Rs 638 crore on a cost plus basis (limited up to maximum of 10 per cent of the esteemed cost).
However, Choudhury, Singh (who subsequently become Chief Secretary) and Bhowmik, without consulting the cabinet headed by then Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and the Work Advisory Committee, and violating the official tender process awarded the contracts of these projects to some organisations.” Nath told reporters.
Describing the corruption “as the biggest scam in the history of Tripura”, Nath and Bhowmik said that due to the irregularities of the former minister and other officials, Rs 228 crore had been siphoned off.
Lok Sabha Member Pratima Bhowmik, who is also the general secretary of the State BJP, said that while the PWD Department by clubbing 13 projects had decided to execute them at a cost of Rs 638 crore on a cost plus basis, however, 35-47 per cent of the financial benefit had gone to the organizations which executed these projects.
The Opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in a statement said that the BJP government has hatched a conspiracy against former PWD Minister Choudhury.
“To divert the attention of the people from the huge misgovernance of the BJP-led government, massive non-performance of the State Government, failure to fulfill the electoral promise, and as part of its political vendetta, the (state) government hatched the conspiracies against the previous Left Front government and former minister,” the statement said.
It also said that the previous CPI-M led Left Front government had implemented major developmental projects with absolute transparency but the BJP-led government is trying to malign the good image of the former government.
CPI-M Tripura State secretary Gautam Das said that the party has decided to fight the “political vendetta” both legally as well as politically. (IANS)