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States » East

Tripura ex-minister granted interim bail for two days, retired engineer in-chief sent to jail

Agartala, Oct 14 (UNI) A sessions court of West Tripura sent retired engineer in-chief Sunil
Bhowmik to judicial custody for tonight who was arrested early this morning in connection
with an allegation of corruption case of Rs 600 Cr during 2008-09 in the PWD department.
However, even after searching for whole day police couldn’t trace out another accused
of the case former PWD minister of the state and incumbent deputy leader of CPI (M)
Badal Choudhury.
In the late evening, a sessions court of West Tripura granted him interim bail till the next
hearing after production of case dairy on October 16 next.
The order reads, “If Choudhury is arrested in connection with the case shall be released
on bail till disposal of the bail petition in the court on furnishing of bond of rupees three
lakh with one surety of like amount on condition that he will not leave the state without
prior intimation to the investigating officer and prior permission of the court and will not try
to terrorise or influence any person acquainted with the fact of the case so as to dissuade
Meanwhile, CPI (M) held protest rally in the city and accused the government of doing
conspiracy to malign CPI (M) and divert the public sentiment grew against the ruling party
for its failure to comply with the poll promises BJP had made in last year assembly elections.
The party secretary Goutam Das threatened to stall the functioning of the state unless the government stops such vendetta politics with fabricated facts.
In the afternoon police was prevented by CPI(M) leaders when they went for searching
of Choudhury in the party state office without warrant. The party leaders however, alleged
that police had conducted search in the houses of CPI(M) leaders, party offices and MLA
hostel since last night but couldn’t locate Choudhury.
Besides, Bhowmik and Choudhury, state vigilance authority has also filed the FIR
yesterday against the then PWD secretary and former chief secretary Y P Singh. Based
on the complaint and the documents West Agartala Police Station had registered specific
against all three accused under section 418, 409, 420, 201, 120 (B) of Indian Panel Code
and section 13 of Prevention of Corruption Act. Immediately police launched haut against
the accused and 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 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 finalising the tenders.
Earlier, the state vigilance officials summoned and interrogated former minister of
PWD and finance in left front government Badal Choudhury and for engineer-in-chief
Sunil Bhowmik, the prime accused of the case several times. The former chief secretary
Y P Singh was also appeared 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
in that time had decided to calculate maximum price escalation up to 10 percent 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.
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