Goa CM asks crime branch to probe US firm bribery case | india | Hindustan Times
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Goa CM asks crime branch to probe US firm bribery case

The BJP on Monday demanded a CBI investigation into the payment of bribes allegedly to the then minister and officials in Goa by New Jersey-based consultancy firm Louis Berger's top officials.

india Updated: Jul 20, 2015 23:19 IST

Goa government on Monday asked crime branch to probe the bribery scam involving a US company accused of paying kickbacks to officials to win contracts in Goa and Assam.

"I have asked crime branch to conduct a preliminary inquiry (into the Goa part of the scandal) and submit a report to me within two days," chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar told reporters in Panaji. Goa BJP has sought a CBI probe into the entire matter.

Before requesting the CBI to investigate, crime branch will go into the details of the case, he said. "The company (Louis Berger) involved seems to be a reputed firm. There is a possibility of some (company) officials being involved in the bribery," he said.

Parsekar said he had received a call from union minister Venkaiah Naidu seeking details of the case. Parsekar's statement comes on a day when former Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat ruled out the involvement of any minister in the case.

Louis Berger has been charged with bribing Indian officials with several crores to win two major water developmental projects in Goa and Guwahati. The alleged bribery for a Goa project included kickbacks to a minister, the details of which have not been disclosed by the US Department of Justice.

"All the tenders for the JAICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) project (of which Louis Berger was the consultant) were issued as per Central Public Works Department prescribed norms. There was no intervention of any minister in it," Kamat told PTI.

He said the role of any state department comes to fore only while deciding estimates for tenders. "Once estimates are drawn there is no possibility of any Minister interfering in it."

The former CM said a consortium from Japan was the lowest bidder for this project aimed at reviving water and sewerage system in Goa. "Anyone can allege he paid money to the (then) minister but there should be proper base to support it."

Union minister and former Goa CM Manohar Parrikar on Sunday had hinted that two former ministers might be involved in the alleged bribery case.