Agartala: A top CPI-M leader in Tripura was arrested on Thursday for “obstructing police” while a massive hunt is on to apprehend former PWD Minister and top Left leader Badal Choudhury in connection with an alleged corruption case, police said.
A police official said that the Communist Party of India-Marxist’s Central Committee member and former MP Narayan Kar was arrested for “obstructing the police in government duties”.
In a setback for the Left, Choudhury’s arrest became imminent after the District and Session Judge Sabyasachi Datta Purkayastha on Wednesday midnight rejected his anticipatory bail plea.
Immediately after the court order, a large contingent of Central paramilitary forces, the Tripura State Rifles (TSR) and State police led by Director General of Police Akhil Kumar Shukla and other top police officials searched many places including the headquarters of the CPI-M State committee, a newspaper office, the MLA Hostel and residences of Left leaders and members to arrest the veteran Left leader, an eight-term MLA from 1978.
The State Government’s vigilance wing on Sunday filed an FIR against the former Public Works Department (PWD) Minister, former Principal Secretary, PWD, YP Singh and ex-PWD Chief Engineer Sunil Bhowmik in connection with alleged “misdeeds” in implementation of 13 projects, worth over Rs 638 crore, during the previous Left Front government in 2008-09.
Bhowmik was arrested late on Sunday soon after the FIR was registered at the West Tripura Police Station under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act.
Meanwhile, CPI-M leaders on Thursday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government of hatching a conspiracy against Choudhury and other party leaders.
Party State secretary Gautam Das said that Kar was arrested on a “flimsy complaint forcefully written” by Choudhury’s bodyguard.
Addressing the media, he said: “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 promises, and as part of its political vendetta, the government hatched the conspiracies against the previous Left Front government and former minister.”
“Both the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the State Assembly had cleared the developmental projects for which the BJP government accusing the previous Left government and Minister,” he said, adding that the party has decided to fight the “political vendetta” both legally as well as politically.
“During the BJP government’s rule, the judiciary is being attacked and controlled, democracy and the Constitution trampled. Thousands of Left and other political party offices, hundreds of residences of Opposition leaders and members have been attacked and this reign of terror has become a part of everyday affairs,” he added.
Veteran Congress leader and senior lawyer Pijush Kanti Biswas also told the media that as per the FIR of the vigilance wing, there is absolutely no merit in the case against Choudhury. “Only as part of the political vendetta of the BJP, the vigilance wing registered the case against Choudhury and two other former senior officials,” he said.
On the other hand, Law and Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath and MP Pratima Bhowmik told media that the PWD Department under the previous Left Front government in 2008-09 fiscal had clubbed 13 projects – five bridge and building projects each and three road projects – implemented at a cost of Rs 638 crore on a cost-plus basis (limited up to maximum of 10 percent of the esteemed cost).
Describing it “as the biggest scam in the history of Tripura”, they said that due to the irregularities, Rs 228 crore had been siphoned off. (IANS)