No need to hand over Louis Berger case to CBI: Goa CM

  • PTI, Panaji
  • Updated: Aug 06, 2015 00:52 IST

Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Wednesday said that he does not feel the need to hand over the Louis Berger bribery case to CBI saying that the state police were doing a good job.

"As our police officials are doing a good job, I do not feel that there is a necessity of giving the Louis Berger case to CBI," Parsekar told reporters outside the state assembly complex amid the ongoing session.

His statement came a day after former chief minister Digambar Kamat moved for anticipatory bail in connection with the bribery case.

"I feel that a person goes for anticipatory bail when he feels afraid of being involved in the case," Parsekar said.

The Goa crime branch investigating the case has already questioned Kamat and the then public works department minister Churchill Alemao in connection with the pay-off scandal. Kamat had moved the bail application on Tuesday before a district and sessions court.

The court on Wednesday fixed August 7 for hearing the application. It reserved the hearing after the Crime Branch stated in the afternoon that it was not ready with reply to the notice it had received from the court on Kamat's plea.

The 61-year-old Congress leader was heading the state between 2007 and 2012 when the New Jersey-based consultancy firm allegedly paid the bribes.

However, Kamat has alleged that officials were arrested in connection with the case after they refused to implicate others, and said a message was being spread that he could also be held in connection with the scam.

Japan International Cooperation Agency's (JICA) former head Anand Wachasunder was arrested by the crime branch because he refused to implicate others, Kamat alleged while addressing Congress workers in Margao last evening.

"Wachasunder was asked to give the statement that he was there when bribe was paid (to ministers). But Wachasunder refused. He said I don't want to tell a lie, I was never part of anything. He was arrested immediately," he said.

"Similar is with Louis Berger official (former country head Satyakam Mohanty). He was called for investigation and he said I don't know what these two people (company officials who have confessed in the US to have paid bribe) have done...He is also arrested," Kamat said.

"This kind of situation is not good for the state," he said, adding that "they are trying to pass on a message that tomorrow you can also be arrested." Kamat has been questioned by the crime branch twice in the pay-off scandal.

"They are trying to suppress the voice of people," he said alleging that when independent MLA Vijai Sardesai raised his voice in Assembly in connection with the case, an attempt was also made to implicate him. "These kind of tactics can't survive for long, the truth will prevail," the former CM said.

US multinational Louis Berger has been charged with bribing Indian officials with several crores of rupees to win two major water developmental projects in Goa and Guwahati.

The alleged bribery of USD 976,630 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 JICA project, of which Louis Berger was the consultant, were issued as per central public works department prescribed norms.

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