Didn’t discuss CBI probe on Louis Berger with Modi: Goa CM

Panaji, Aug 28 (IANS) The issue of handing over the Louis Berger bribery case to the CBI did not come up during an interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said on Thursday.

Speaking to IANS on the sidelines of a post-cabinet media briefing at the state secretariat, Parsekar said no specifics about the state Crime Branch probe were shared with Modi, during his (Parsekar’s) official visit to the national capital on Tuesday.

“No, no. On that aspect, it was not discussed,” Parsekar said, when asked if the issue of transferring the probe, in which a former PWD minister has been arrested and a former chief minister’s arrest is being sought.

Top officials of Louis Berger have already pleaded guilty to offering bribes to the tune of $3.9 million to secure contracts in countries like India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kuwait.

Parsekar had earlier said that considering the international ramifications, the case could be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation, after a preliminary probe by the state Crime Branch.

While the settlement announced by the US Justice Department did not identify the politicians and officials who were offered the bribes, documents revealed that $976,630 in bribe was paid during 2009-2010 to a Goa minister and other officials.

Louis Berger was part of a consortium that eventually won a contract to execute the JICA-funded water and sewerage project in Goa.

The Goa Police Crime Branch has claimed that the bribes were paid to then chief minister Digambar Kamat, then PWD minister Churchill Alemao and other officials. A top official, a former India head of Louis Berger and a hawala dealer have already been arrested in connection with the bribery case.

“I told him whatever had happened. I do not know all the details. You all (media) print the details and then I come to know about it,” he said, when asked about the conversation he had with Modi.

“No specifics were discussed. I told him (Modi) that it was going on the right track,” Parsekar said.

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