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Tripura PWD scam: 2 top ex-officials, ex-minister in trouble
Agartala, Nov 15 - The Tripura High Court on Friday rejected bail pleas of a former Chief Secretary and ex-Chief Engineer while a special district court sent veteran CPI-M leader and former minister Badal Choudhury to 13-day judicial custody in the PWD scam.
After four-day police custody, the crime branch of the state police produced Choudhury in the West Tripura district and sessions court and after a long hearing, the Special Judge Sabyasachi Datta Purkayastha sent the veteran Left leader to 13-day judicial custody.
"The court has directed the investigating officer to arrange full health and security protection for the former minister. The officer can interrogate Choudhury in the Central Jail as and when required," defence lawyer Arindam Bhattacharjee told reporters.
An eight-time MLA and former Lok Sabha member, Choudhury has been in hospital since he was arrested by the crime branch on October 21 in connection with the PWD scam.
Earlier on Friday, Justice Arindam Lodh of the Tripura High Court after several days of hearing rejected the anticipatory bail plea of former Chief Secretary Yash Pal Singh and bail petition of ex-Chief Engineer of PWD Sunil Bhowmik.
The Tripura Police's vigilance wing on October 13 filed an FIR against Choudhury, former Chief Secretary Yash Pal Singh, who was Principal Secretary (PWD) in 2008-09 and ex-PWD Chief Engineer Sunil Bhowmik in connection with "corruption charges in implementation of the Rs 638 crore projects".
Bhowmik was arrested on October 14. The police said they have taken steps to arrest Singh, who is a resident of New Delhi.
According to Law and Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath, the Public Works Department under the Left Front government in 2008-09 had clubbed together 13 projects -- five bridges, five buildings and three road projects -- being implemented at a cost of Rs 638 crore on a cost-plus norms.
Terming it the "biggest scam in the history of Tripura", Nath said Rs 168.13 crore had been siphoned.
CPI-Marxist leaders, including former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said the BJP government had hatched a conspiracy against CPI-M central committee member Choudhury to malign the previous Left governments.
"No corruption had taken place during the 35-year rule (1978-1988 and 1993-2018) of Left parties in Tripura. Instead, state infrastructure and all other sectors improved in the state," Sarkar told the media.
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