Former Tripura PWD minister Badal Choudhury Credit: File image

Agartala: The vigilance department has summoned former Tripura minister and sitting CPI-M MLA Badal Choudhury for procedural irregularities and abuse of power in approving work of office in 2008-2009.

According to reports, the PWD allegedly made irregularities in spending over Rs 800 crore when Choudhury was a minister of the department after which an inquiry team was set up by the current BJP-led government.

On Thursday, the vigilance team summoned Sunil Bhowmik, the then engineer-in-chief of the Public Works Department (PWD), in connection with the matter. However, he could not give any satisfactory reply to questions posed by the vigilance officers. As a result, Bhowmik is likely to summoned again, said sources.

Meanwhile, MLA Choudhury has accepted the vigilance summon. “I received a letter from the vigilance department today and I have been asked to remain present tomorrow at the vigilance office. However, I have said that it is not possible to face vigilance officers at present because we are out of Agartala promoting the three-tier panchayat elections. I have informed the same to the vigilance officials over the telephone,” he said.

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“It is not possible to leave the constituency until the electoral process is over. Moreover, my physical condition is not well and as a result, I will be able to meet the vigilance team only in September,” Choudhury added.

According to Choudhury, it was not yet clear why the vigilance department has summoned him. “It is not possible to meet them unless I get to know the cause and prepare accordingly,” he added.

There have been widespread allegations of corruption during the Left Front regime that ruled the Northeastern state of Tripura from 1978 to 1988, and again from 1993 to 2018.

Earlier on July 21, chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb had said that the government is working against corruption of the Left era and around four to five cases have already been sent to the vigilance department. The cases on irregularities are related to flyovers and college selection for nursing courses, among others. Choudhury, the former PWD minister, is trying to influence the vigilance inquiry but the report will clear all doubts, Deb had said.

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