Deputy Leader of the opposition MLA Badal Chowdhury, who is repeatedly being questioned by the vigilances sleuth in connection with some charges of corruption, has on today termed the vigilance proceedings “misconceived” and an “unsustainable attempt”.
Addressing the media persons, perhaps for the first time on this issue, Chowdhury said, once the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) closes down some matter, a fresh vigilance inquiry on the matter is not according to the system. Referring to the PAC report, he claimed that such practices are “misconceived” and an “unsustainable attempt”.
Reportedly, a vigilance inquiry was initiated earlier last month against the Chowdhury for allegedly misappropriating funds in PWD department. He was summoned by the officials more than once. The allegations are reported to be on the “cost-plus” system introduced by the previous government.
Speaking on the issue Chowdhury said, Tripura is a special category state. And, every year, the state received plenty of funds from Planning Commission, NEC (North East Council), ST, SC, OBC and Minority departments. Thus, the then government found a scope to develop infrastructure of the state.
But, he said, to attract the big-ticket private construction agencies and CPSUs to the development projects of the state, the state cabinet decided to club a number projects together and open tender bids in attempt to speed up the process of development and further fund flow. It took shape after a number of discussions from the bureaucratic level to the cabinet and the work advisory committee. The then Chief Secretary Sashi Prakash Rao and Principal Secretary YP Singh were also involved in the process and they are also facing the vigilance inquiry, he added.
Questioning the government’s initiative of handing over the cases to vigilance, he said, such attempts are not permissible according to the rules. The public accounts committee has already closed down the matter and given a clean chit on the issue in its 141st report placed in the assembly. He also described as to how the entire process of tendering and bidding was completed during that period of time.