ED seeks details of Goa Louis Berger bribery case

Panaji, Aug 7 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Goa is keen on probing the money laundering angle in the Louis Berger bribery case, in which a former PWD minister has been already been arrested.

An ED official on condition of anonymity told IANS that the central government agency had sought a copy of the First Information Report filed by the Crime Branch, in connection with the $976,630 bribe paid by Louis Berger officials in 2010 to Goan politicians and bureaucrats.

The bribe was paid in order to secure implementation rights for a Rs.1,031 crore worth water and sewage management project funded by the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).

“We have not received the FIR yet. We will evaluate whether to register the case under the Money Laundering Act,” the ED official said.

Police have maintained that former Public Works Department minister Churchill Alemao and then chief minister Digambar Kamat have allegedly received bribes in installments through a ‘hawala’ channel from ex-Louis Berger officials to secure the consultancy deal in 2010.

While Alemao was arrested on Wednesday, Kamat, who has been questioned on two occasions, has secured interim bail. Both have denied accepting bribes to finalise the consultancy deal.

Police, who have also arrested an ex-director of the JICA-funded project Anan Wachasundar and former India head of Louis Berger Satyakam Mohanty, claim that they have established the ‘hawala’ money trail from the Gulf region to Delhi, Jaipur and Goa.

In a speech to BJP workers on Sunday near here Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar promised Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar of all possible help from central agencies like the ED, department of income tax and the Central Bureau of Investigation to nail corrupt deals struck by Congress leaders.

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