Goa crime branch probe into bribery scam involving US firm

Requesting the PM or the home minister to order a CBI inquiry, says state chief minister

GN Bureau | July 21, 2015


#goa   #usa   #water   #louis berger   #congress churchill alemao   #digambar kamat  

The Goa government has decided to review all projects in which services of US-based company Louis Berger were engaged even as the state crime branch has started the investigation into the bribery scam over allegations of kickbacks for a water development project sanctioned under the Congress government in Goa in 2010.

Chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar had directed the local crime branch to probe the bribery issue and submit a preliminary report in a couple of days. “I will be requesting the PM or the Home Minister to order a CBI inquiry. However, before I do so I need to give them some information about the case. So, I have asked the Crime Branch to look into the case and submit a report in the next three days,” the CM said. Taking a swipe at Congress, he added: “When the contracts were awarded, Congress leader Digambar Kamat was CM and Churchill Alemao was the PWD minister.

The crime branch on Tuesday summoned AM Wachasundar, project director of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the company which was part of the consortium behind the water project. Wachasundar served as a chief engineer in the Public Works Department in Goa and was later appointed as the JICA's project director.

Former Congress minister Churchill Alemao, who was allegedly bribed by the US firm, has claimed that he’s being framed in the case. Alemao was the Public Works Department minister at the time the US-based company had won a water project in the state.

arsekar said on Monday that “we have decided to look into all the projects that the consultancy has undertaken in the state.” Apart from the contentious water development project in Goa, Louis Berger was a consultant for two other infrastructure projects that never took off. They are the Dona Paula-Vasco Sea Link project that was scrapped and the proposed Mopa International Airport in North Goa.

Meanwhile, former CM Digambar Kamat, under whose watch the tenders were awarded, denied any wrongdoing. “The tenders were floated and awarded as per rules. I am open to facing any inquiry,” Kamat said.

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