Agartala, Oct 15 (GCCurrentAffairs) Former state PWD minister of left front government and accused in Rs 600 Cr corruption case Badal Choudhury on Tuesday claimed that police refused to accept his bail bond in West Agartala police station last night and said it was a ‘contempt of court order’.
Choudhury alleged that a session court in West Tripura yesterday granted him interim bail till the next hearing after production of case dairy scheduled tomorrow. Accordingly, he had approached the concerned police station in the late evening to produce the bail bond of Rs 3 lakh, but the investigating officer remained absent and did not turn up despite repeated attempts, he claimed.
“Finally, we requested the officer in-charge of West Agartala police station to execute the bond but he also refused to accept the bail bond. About an hour later, the DSP came to the police station but he too did not accept the bond or even denied to formalize the general dairy,” Choudhury told media.
He alleged that police did not have the guts to face him, as everybody knew he was framed as part of political conspiracy against CPI (M).
“Police is simply used as a means by the leaders of the ruling party to harass political rivals,”he said.
“When the public accounts committee of the state assembly, which is the the highest legislative body, dropped the allegations against me after scrutinizing the entire process in presence of accounts and auditor general, how can subordinate investigation department carry out the enquiry and lodge an FIR?” Choudhury questioned, adding that the entire episode showed the ill intention of the government.
The administrative approval of the alleged contracts to private parties were given by former Chief Secretary Shashi Prakash and it was also reported in the cabinet, the CPI(M) leaders have said.
Interestingly, the investigation did not question the role of Chief Secretary and the council of ministers headed by Manik Sarkar in the alleged corruption, a top CPI (M) leader has said.
“In the whole process of awarding the work the then law secretary and retired high court judge S C Das, dozens of engineers in state PWD besides, Chief Secretary and the cabinet were involved, but none of them were brought into the ambit of the investigation by state vigilance?” he has questioned.
Meanwhile, CPI (M) held protest rally in the city and accused the government of maligning CPI (M) and diverting the public sentiment that has grown against the ruling party for its failure to comply with the poll promises.
The party secretary Goutam Das threatened to stall the functioning of the state unless the government stopped vendetta politics with fabricated facts.
In the afternoon police was prevented by CPM leaders when they went to look for Choudhury in the party state office without warrant.
The party leaders alleged that police had searched the houses of CPM leaders, party offices and MLA hostels since last night but couldn’t locate Choudhury.
Based on a complaint and the documents West Agartala Police Station had registered specific against all three accused under section 418, 409, 420, 468, 201, 120 (B) of Indian Panel Code and section 13 of Prevention of Corruption Act.
Immediately police launched search against the accused and was able to detain former engineer in-chief Sunil Bhowmik.
He was interrogated for whole night by the senior police officials on the charges. Allegedly, there was gross irregularities found during vigilance enquiry into the charges and based on which an inspector of state vigilance department Badal Datta filed the FIR.
A senior police officer stated that prima facie it was established while awarding the works in different phases during 2008-09, the accused officials in connivance with the minister gave preferential treatment to private construction companies along with several other administrative irregularities were committed in the process of finalizing the tenders.
The former chief secretary Y P Singh had also deposed before the vigilance officer once in connection with the case to explain his action in the file.
According to officials here, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb holding the portfolio of PWD had come across suspicious action in the file when expression of interest was called in two different occasions. According to allegations, the then government favoured some private parties by accepting limited tenders in two phases.
In first phase, tenders from government public sector undertakings (PSUs) were accepted and private tenders were accepted even after 25 days. Moreover, the cabinet at that time had decided to calculate maximum price escalation up to 10 per cent of the estimated cost of the project but in this case the price escalation was 35.73 to 47 percent and finally the contract was given to private agencies.