Kamat aide granted anticipatory bail in Louis Berger case

Panaji, Aug 18 (IANS) A special anti-corruption court in Panaji on Tuesday granted anticipatory bail to Arthur Silva in connection with the Louis Berger bribery case.

Margao Municipal Council chairperson Silva is a close aide of former chief minister Digambar Kamat.

He filed his anticipatory bail plea on Monday fearing arrest in the bribery case, after investigating officers attached to the Crime Branch said that Silva helped Kamat obtain information under the Right to Information Act, even as the former chief minister was questioned several times in the past few weeks.

Kamat is out on interim bail, even as the prosecution has alleged that Kamat received more than Rs.1 crore in bribes in multiple instalments, including one at the official residence of the chief minister, to allot the consultancy project to Louis Berger in 2010, when he was heading a Congress-led coalition government.

Kamat along with former PWD minister Churchill Alemao and other government officials has been accused of allegedly accepting $976,630 in bribe in 2010 from the officials of the US-based consultancy firm to secure the implementation rights of a multi-billion dollar water and sewerage project in Goa.

The project worth Rs.1,031 crore was funded by the Japan International Co-Operation Agency (JICA) and cleared in 2010.

Crime Branch officials insist they want police custody of Kamat in order to track down a copy of a crucial JICA file which disappeared and which they claim is with the former chief minister.

Last week, Silva in his RTI application had sought information about the JICA project and the location of the missing file.

Those arrested till date include Alemao, Satyakam Mohanty, project director Anand Wachasundar and an alleged hawala dealer Raichand Soni. Former Louis Berger vice president Satyakam Mohanty was released on bail on Monday.

All the accused were arrested in August, a few days after media reports, first emanating from the US, brought to light the bribery scandal quoting US Justice department documents.

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