Opposition CPIM MLAs walked out on the first day of a two-day long Assembly session Friday over the arrest of former PWD minister Badal Choudhury. Choudhury was arrested on October 21 last year in connection with findings of a vigilance investigation on PWD works held in 2008-09, during the erstwhile Left regime. Choudhury was booked along with two others: former Engineer-in-Chief Sunil Bhowmik and former Chief Secretary Yashpal Singh in an alleged graft of Rs 638.40 crores.
Governor Ramesh Bais rose to deliver his speech on the first day of this special winter session of the state assembly when opposition legislators led by acting Opposition leader Tapan Chakraborty alleged that Badal Choudhury was arrested due to political vendetta hatched against him. The Opposition said they would not listen to the gubernatorial head’s address unless specific assurance was given to stop ‘deliberate political attack’ on him.
As Governor Bais continued his address, Opposition MLAs walked down to the well of the House and staged a protest by shouting for 10 minutes before staging a walk-out.
Speaking to reporters at a media conference later this evening, Chakraborty said they had to boycott the session ‘unfortunately’. “It is unfortunate that we had to boycott since there was no other way of boycotting the session. Badal Choudhury is the oldest serving member of the state Assembly and has won eight times in assembly polls. He also served as a Parliamentarian from West Tripura Lok Sabha constituency. These false cases were framed against him to silence the protesting voices of the opposition,” Chakraborty said, adding that they would continue to demand the immediate release of Choudhury and unconditional withdrawal of the case against him.
Badal Choudhury was untraced for six days after the FIR was registered. He was later found admitted to the ICU of a private hospital.
While being dragged to a lock-up from a police van 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 fell seriously ill in the lock-up, minutes before he was brought there, and was rushed to ICU of the 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 previously termed the case against Choudhury a ‘political conspiracy’.
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