AGARTALA: The winter session of the Tripura assembly began here on Friday amid an uproar by the opposition Left legislators over the arrest of senior CPI(M) leader and former minister Badal Chowdhury.
Barely some minutes into Governor Ramesh Bais's customary speech on the opening day of the first session, the opposition members led by Tapan Chakraborty rushed into the well of the House to protest against the arrest of Chowdhury in a "false case", that led to the disruption of the proceedings for about half an hour.
Outside the assembly, the CPI(M)'s youth wing -- the Democratic Youth Federation of India -- also organised a rally to protest on the same issue.
The Tripura police in October, 2019, arrested veteran CPI-M leader and former PWD and Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury and ex-PWD Chief Engineer Sunil Bhowmik in connection with "corruption charges in implementation of Rs 638 crore projects".
The police in the same case has been looking for former Chief Secretary Yash Pal Singh, who was the Principal Secretary (PWD) in 2008-09. Bhowmik recently got bail from the Tripura High Court while Chowdhury, deputy leader of the Left group in the state assembly, is in custody since October 21.
According to Law and Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath, the Public Works Department under the Left Front government in 2008-09 had clubbed together 13 projects -- five bridges, five buildings and three road projects -- being implemented at a cost of Rs 638 crore on cost-plus norms.
Terming it the "biggest scam in the history of Tripura", Nath said "Rs 168.13 crore had been siphoned off."
Former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who is the opposition leader in the state assembly, had earlier said there was no corruption during the 35-year rule (1978-1988 and 1993-2018) of the Left parties in Tripura.
"Instead, state infrastructure and all other sectors improved in the state," Sarkar had told the media adding that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had hatched a conspiracy against CPI-M central committee member Chowdhury to malign the previous Left governments.