Louis Berger case: Ex-officials confirm Kamat, Alemao were bribed

Panaji:  The Goa Crime Branch has submitted before a local court that former Louis Berger officials had allegedly paid a bribe to former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and the then PWD Minister Churchill Alemao to
louis berger case ex officials confirm kamat...
PTI August 07, 2015 16:16 IST

Panaji:  The Goa Crime Branch has submitted before a local court that former Louis Berger officials had allegedly paid a bribe to former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and the then PWD Minister Churchill Alemao to win consultancy for a major water project in the state.

While opposing the anticipatory bail plea of Kamat, the Crime Branch in its submission before the District Court on Thursday had mentioned that the investigating officer has recorded the statement of former Louis Berger officials before a magistrate, which has allegedly confirmed the involvement of Kamat and Alemao in the bribery case.

Two former Louis Berger officials, Sanjay Jindal and Shiv Ram Prasad, had deposed before a judicial magistrate over a week back, while the director of Shah Consultancy Prasanna Shah was the third witness whose statement was recorded under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure last week.

"One of the ex-employees of Louis Berger Inc disclosed before the court that he witnessed the four transactions wherein Rs 50-60 lakh on one occasion and Rs 15 lakhs on one (another) occasion was delivered to Alemao, and Rs 50-60 lakhs on two occasions to Kamat in 2010-11," Crime Branch's submission before District Judge B P Deshpande mentioned.

The police has, in its submission before the court, termed Alemao as "marginally noted accused."

"The involvement of marginally noted accused is established, and more evidence is required to be collected at the instance of the accused persons...It is quite evident and amply clear that the then PWD minister and then Chief Minister, and others in 2009-11, favoured Louis Berger company and their consortium (of) partners for monetary gains by abusing their position and, in connivance with the government servants, obtained pecuniary advantage, and caused massive loss to the state," the statement mentioned.

With Kamat under the scanner, the Goa Congress has sought a CBI probe in the case and demanded a re-negotiation of the works.

Alemao was yesterday remanded in four-day police custody by the court, while the anticipatory bail plea of Kamat is expected to come up for hearing later today.

Meanwhile, even as two of its former ministers are facing probe in Louis Berger bribery scandal, the Goa Congress demanded that the case be handed over to CBI and the renegotiation of works under JICA-aided project during BJP's rule should also be probed.

"The inquiry should be handed over to Central Bureau of Investigation. The entire work right from sanctioning of JICA work to its execution in each of the constituencies should be probed," Goa Congress spokesman Agnelo Fernandes told PTI.

"The inquiry should be conducted how the JICA work was renegotiated during BJP regime and also whether there is any bribery involved in execution of the work," he said.

Fernandes also alleged that the Crime Branch has been acting selectively in this case.

He, however, said the party does not support any of its tainted leaders.

"If anyone is found guilty, we won't be supporting them," he said.

Apart from Alemao, former director of JICA-aided project for Goa Anand Wachasunder and Louis Berger's ex-vice president Berger Satyakam Mohanty were arrested in connection with the case.

Kamat, who headed the government in 2010 when the bribery scam is alleged to have taken place, has been questioned twice by the Crime Branch. He has moved the district and sessions court for anticipatory bail.

The scandal involves the New Jersey-based consultancy firm allegedly doling out bribes to win the consultancy for a water project under the JICA funding.

 
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