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Tripura's ex-Minister found in hospital after 6 days' hunt


Agartala: Former PWD Minister and top Left leader Badal Choudhury, whom police was hunting frantically for the past six days in an alleged corruption case, was found in a private hospital late on Monday night "in mysterious circumstances", police said.

According to a police official, Choudhury was now in an Intensive Care Unit of the private hospital in a critical condition and he was now under the close watch of huge contingent of security forces led by top police officials.

Opposition leader and former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and other top Left leaders visited the hospital on late Monday night to inquire about his health condition.

Earlier in the day, the Tripura High Court heard the senior lawyers and Advocate General Arun Kanti Bhowmik about the ex-Left government minister's anticipatory bail plea in the alleged corruption case.

After a long hearing, Judge Arindam Lodh reserved his order on the anticipatory bail petition.

The security personnel headed by top police and intelligence officials continued their hunt for the sixth day on Monday in over 100 places to arrest Choudhury in connection with the alleged multi-crore PWD scam during 2008-09 under previous Left Front government.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government had suspended nine policemen, including an IPS officer and a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), and transferred six senior police officers after the police's failure to arrest Choudhury, also an eight term MLA and former Lok Sabha member.

According to Law and Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath, the Public Works Department of the previous Left Front government in 2008-09 clubbed 13 projects -- five bridges, five buildings and three road projects -- implemented at Rs 638 crore on a cost plus basis (limited up to maximum of 10 per cent of the esteemed cost). Terming the issue as the "biggest scam in the history of Tripura", Nath said that Rs 228 crore had been siphoned off.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leaders said the BJP government had hatched a conspiracy against Choudhury and to malign the previous Left government and attain political mileage. CPI-M Tripura state secretary Gautam Das said the party had decided to fight the "political vendetta" both legally as well as politically.




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