Tripura HC hears bail plea of former minister, judgement reserved

Tripura HC hears bail plea of former minister, judgement reserved
Tripura High Court

AGARTALA | Oct 21, 2019:

The sensational anticipatory bail plea hearing of former PWD minister Badal Chowdhury concluded in Tripura High Court today but the presiding Judge, Justice Arindam Lodh is yet to pass an order on the plea made by Chowdhury's lawyers, Bikash Bhattacharjee from Calcutta and local advocate Purushottam Roy Barman.

As scheduled earlier, the hearing of the case commenced at 2 in the afternoon and continued for close to three hours with both sides pressing for their plea.

Representing the state, advocate general Arun Kanti Bhowmik said that Badal Chowdhury was involved in the case as there was no cabinet approval for the infrastructural work executed at sharply hiked rate. He also said that the reason that Badal Chowdhury was absconding proved his guilt and no absconder can be granted anticipatory bail.

Rebutting the advocate general's arguments, eminent lawyer Bikash Bhattacharjee said that the entire excess expenditure had been approved in advance by the cabinet which deals with policy matters but the execution was done with approval from state level Work Advisory Committee (WAC).

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Senior officials of the government including the chief secretary had also green-signal. "No criminal case against the minister Badal Chowdhury can be made out of this; besides, the CAG examined the expenditure but made no adverse comment and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as recently as last month cleared the matter; so there is no act of omission or commission by Badal Chowdhury and his name can not even figure as accused", said Bikash Bhattacharjee.

Meanwhile, advocate general Arun Kanti Bhowmik harped on his points made initially. After almost three hours of arguments and counter-arguments, Justice Arindam Lodh reserved his judgement.

Later speaking to media persons, advocate Purushottam Roy Barman repeated what Bikash Bhattacharjee had argued in the court and condemned the police action of frantic search operations terming it 'goonery'. "No search in private houses and institutions can be conducted without a duly issued search warrant; what the police is doing is downright thuggery; Badal Chowdhury or any other person is legally entitled to apply for anticipatory bail under Section 438 of IPC" said Roy Barman.

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Meanwhile, the chief judicial magistrate's court today extended the bail granted to former CPI (M) Rajya Sabha MP Narayan Kar up to November 22 with certain conditions which include permission in advance before leaving the state and co-operation with the investigating agency.

But the bail petition moved by senior advocate Pijush Biswas for his nabbed client, former chief engineer Sunil Bhowmik, who is now in ICU, was not ordered upon as the public prosecutor had to move to high court in connection with the anticipatory bail petition of Badal Chowdhury. The order will be passed tomorrow.

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