Assam CM orders probe into US firm’s bribery case

Guwahati, July 20 (IANS) Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday ordered a probe into allegation that a US-based construction management company had bribed officials, including a minister, to win contract for a water project in Guwahati.

The chief minister asked Additional Chief Secretary Subash Chandra Das to probe the alleged Louis Berger Guwahati Water Supply project scam and directed him to submit a report soon.

Gogoi said if any prima facie evidence was found, the state government would refer the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The alleged scam came to the fore last week after a US court charged two former executives of Louis Berger company for bribing a minister in Assam and some officials for getting the water supply contract worth Rs.86.6 crore.

Former minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was in-charge of the Guwahati Development Department when the contract was inked. Sarma, who resigned as minister last year, denied his involvement in the scam.

A section of Congress leaders and opposition parties in Assam are demanding a thorough probe into the allegation.

New Jersey-based firm Louis Berger has been charged with paying around $1 million in bribes for projects in Goa and Guwahati.

According to the papers released by the US Justice Department, bribes were paid to officials and a minister, whose name was not revealed, for securing the project.

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