Goa Police file charge sheet in Louis Berger graft case

Panaji, Sep 28 (IANS) The Crime Branch of Goa Police on Monday formally filed charges in the Louis Berger bribery case, in which along with state government officials and former senior executives of the global consultancy group, then Public Works Department minister Churchill Alemao has also been indicted.

While Alemao has already been arrested, Congress legislator Digambar Kamat, who was the chief minister at the time and has currently secured anticipatory bail, is listed as a suspect in the charge sheet.

The charge sheet was submitted around noon to the special anti-corruption court here, but exact details of the document are not available yet.

A police official, however, said that six people have been named in the charge sheet. They are Alemao, Anand Wachasunder (director of the tainted project), James McClung (fomer Asia head of Louis Berger), Satyakam Mahanty (former India head of Louis Berger), Richand Soni (alleged hawala operator), and Arthur D’Silva (a Digambar Kamat aide).

The accused people have been booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code and sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Kamat, Alemao and other government officials have been accused of allegedly accepting a $976,630 bribe in 2010 from officials of US-based Louis Berger consultancy firm, which sought to secure implementation rights for a multi-billion dollar water and sewerage project in Goa worth Rs.1,031 crore.

The project, funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, was cleared in 2010 by the Congress-led coalition government.

The money, according to police, was allegedly handed over to Kamat and Alemao through Soni in instalments.

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