West Tripura district and sessions court has already rejected the bail plea of ex-minister Badal Choudhury on Wednesday Credit: File image

Agartala: Search operations continued in the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday in different parts of the state to arrest former Tripura public works department (PWD) minister and senior CPI-M leader Badal Choudhury in the Rs 600-crore PWD scam even as the West Tripura district and sessions court already rejected his bail plea on Wednesday.

The state police also conducted search operations in MLA hostel number two, house of CPI-M leader Pabitra Kar and residence of Chowdhury’s brother, but failed to find him till the filing of this report.

Meanwhile, the state home department has deployed adequate security forces across the state and in front of the office of CPI-M to avoid any untoward situation.

Following the court order, the police also searched the office of the CPI-M to arrest Choudhury around 12.10 am on Thursday but failed to nab him as the former minister was not present in the party office.

In a significant development, the West Tripura district and sessions court on Wednesday evening rejected the anticipatory bail plea of the former state PWD minister for his alleged involvement in the scam that allegedly took place during the financial year 2008-2009.

Earlier on October 14, the Tripura Police arrested PWD chief engineer Sunil Bhowmik in connection with the case. However, the police also visited the residence of Choudhury on that day, but had to return empty-handed as the former minister was also not present in his residence.

Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, public prosecutor Biswajit Deb said that on October 14 Choudhury filed an anticipatory bail petition, and the court had granted him two days of interim bail till October 16. After completion of his bail term, Choudhury applied for bail again which was rejected by the court after hearing both the sides on Wednesday evening.

“On the other hand, the court has sent former PWD chief engineer Sunil Bhowmik to four-day of police remand. Now, the police can arrest PWD minister Choudhury under section 120(b), 409, 201, 420,480 and Prevention of Corruption Act 13,” public prosecutor Biswajit Deb said.

The Tripura police officials were obstructed by the CPI-M cadres when police tried to enter the party office late night. But, the SDPO, additional SP West, DCM, and officer-in-charge of West police station managed to enter the CPI-M party office later in the night to search for the former minister.

Speaking with EastMojo, counsel of former minister said, “We are filing a bail application with the high court of Tripura and we are hopeful the court will grant him anticipatory bail under section 438 of CRPC.”

Earlier, an FIR by the state vigilance department was registered in the West Agartala police station with case number 251 of 2019 under section 401, 420, 418, 102, 120 (b) of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act 13 against the former PWD minister Badal Chowdhury, former chief engineer Sunil Bhowmik and former chief secretary YP Singh over an alleged scam of Rs 600 crore.

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