Ex-Tripura minister booked for corruption in Rs 600-crore PWD scam; 1 detained
Police in Tripura have booked former public works department (PWD) minister Badal Choudhury and two ex-officials over alleged irregularities in construction work amounting to more than Rs 600 crore carried out between 2008 and 2009.
Choudhury, former chief secretary Yashpal Singh and former engineer-in-chief of PWD Sunil Bhowmik were charged with corruption, cheating, criminal breach of trust, causing the disappearance of evidence and others under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
“Cases against the three have been lodged at West Agartala Police Station on Sunday evening. We have detained the former chief engineer for interrogation this morning (Monday),” said West Tripura’s superintendent of police Ajit Pratap Singh.
Choudhury, the PWD minister for four terms in the Left era, was questioned thrice by the Vigilance Commission regarding the matter.
The opposition Communist Party of India (Marxist) has alleged the case against Choudhury is a part of political revenge.
“The action was also taken to hide the BJP-led state government’s unfulfilled promises and to divert people’s attention from the anguish created due to the government’s anti-people initiatives,” CPI(M)’s state office secretary Haripada Das said in a press statement on Sunday.
Chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb had said in the assembly session in September that the former Left government spent nearly Rs 225 crore in 2008-09 more than the amount sanctioned for different infrastructures developmental schemes.
Deb said the cabinet note that time and a note signed on the same subject don’t match.
“We found the cabinet notes clarified 10% cost plus basis was sanctioned on the estimated costs for the infrastructure development projects in 2008-09. But according to the then principal secretary YP Singh’s note, 35.75% cost plus basis was sanctioned on estimated costs,” Deb had said in the assembly.
“The state cabinet was unaware of the additional expenditure. We have ordered for a vigilance probe into it,” he had said.