A special court convened at west Tripura district and Sessions Judge court on Friday sent ex-minister Badal Choudhury to judicial custody for three days till November 11. The former minister told the court during the hearing that a deep-rooted conspiracy has been hatched to assassinate him and accused ‘top brass’ of state administration to be involved in it.
Choudhury, who served four terms as PWD minister in the erstwhile Left Front governments, is accused in a Rs 638 crore graft case along with two others, including former PWD Engineer in-Chief Sunil Bhowmik and former Chief Secretary Yashpal Singh. He was arrested at a private hospital in Agartala on October 21, over a week after he was booked in the graft case.
Speaking to reporters, Public Prosecutor Ratan Dutta today said Choudhury argued by himself in the court for 20 minutes and claimed himself innocent in the case.
“We appealed the Court to remand him to police custody for interrogation. His counsels claimed he is physically unfit for interrogation in police lock-up. The court has reserved it’s full order and will hear the case again on November 11. We hope to have him in police custody after that,” the public prosecutor informed.
Meanwhile, Badal Choudhury’s counsel Purushottam Roy Barman told indianexpress.com that the former minister has accused ‘top brass of state administration’ of hatching a conspiracy to assassinate him.
“Our client has told in the Court that he is concerned about his security since he feels there is a conspiracy to assassinate him at any time. He has accused top brass of the state administration is involved in the conspiracy,” Barman said.
The counsel also said the ex-minister gave the court details of who are involved in the conspiracy. However, Barman declined to reveal the names and said these details would only be clear in Court order on November 11.
On the claims of assassination conspiracy, the prosecution has said there is no risk to his life and all facilities provided as per Tripura Jail Manual would be available to him.
Choudhury was untraceable for six days after the FIR was registered. He was later found admitted in the ICU of a private hospital.
While being dragged to a lock-up at West Agartala police station on Wednesday, the ex-minister shouted to media persons and said he was beaten up and verbally abused by the police. He was taken seriously ill in the lock-up, minutes before he was brought there, and was rushed to ICU of State-run Gobinda Ballabh Pant (GBP) Hospital, triggering allegations of police excesses in handling an accused undergoing intensive care. Choudhury has had two bypass surgeries in the past and suffered mild brain stroke while in police custody at hospital in October.
Former Tripura Chief Minister and CPI (M) politburo member Manik Sarkar has termed the case against Choudhury a ‘political conspiracy’.