Tripura’s former PWD minister and incumbent Deputy Leader of Opposition Badal Choudhury was grilled for six hours on Monday by probe authorities looking into the alleged irregularities in the Agartala flyover project. He was summoned for questioning by the Vigilance Department and CID of Tripura Police.
A special team of Tripura Police’s Crime Investigation Department (CID) led by DIG (Crime Branch) R Gopala Krishna Rao questioned Choudhury from 11 am till 5 pm in the evening.
The former minister and Deputy Opposition Leader, however, told reporters that he was summoned for a “discussion”.
“A team of officers made me a few questions. It was not an interrogation, rather a discussion. They wanted to know certain things from us. I told them that many expert agencies like Jadavpur University, CRRI have certified that the structure is ready to be opened for public,” Choudhury told reporters after coming out of the CID office at Arundhatinagar.
Choudhury also told reporters that the flyover was built with utmost integrity and was certified “ready to be opened” by a number of expert agencies, including the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), Jadavpur University and IIT-Delhi.
Over Rs 300 crore was spent in the construction of a 2.3 km-long two-lane flyover from Fire Brigade Chowmuhani till Arundhatinagar Drop Gate via Battala. The project, which started in May, 2015, is in its final stages.
The project ran into trouble when the incumbent BJP-IPFT government lodged complaints against former Engineer in-Chief (PWD) Sunil Bhowmik and former Chief Engineer (Roads and Buildings) Somesh Chandra Das and two construction agencies – VKS Infra Tech Management Private Limited and Hyderabad-based Nagarjuna Construction Company (NCC) — under Prevention of Corruption Act. The FIR was lodged by the then Deputy Superintendent of Police (Vigilance) J. Darlong.
Former Engineer-in-Chief Sunil Bhowmik was also earlier interrogated by the police. The former PWD minister said a “witch hunt” began against engineers who served under the Left government
“Not a single landmark construction was built in Tripura since its merger with Indian Union in 1949 till we took charge of PWD in 1998. Our engineers have done this work. We are proud of them. Now a witchhunt has started against them”, the former minister said.