Louis Berger case: ‘Hawala dealer’ held in Goa

Panaji, Aug 7 (IANS) The Goa Police Crime Branch on Friday arrested an alleged hawala dealer Raichand Soni in connection with the Louis Berger bribery case, in which a former state minister and two others have already been arrested.

A Crime Branch official confirmed the arrest off the record, but refused to divulge any details.

Police sources, however, said Soni, who shuttles between Goa and Dubai, is the person used in 2010 by Louis Berger officials to transfer the bribe money to the then Public Works Department minister Churchill Alemao and the then chief minister Digambar Kamat, who has been questioned on two occasions by the Crime Branch.

“Soni was summoned earlier, but he was in Dubai. He was arrested upon his arrival in Goa,” Crime Branch sources said, adding that the $976,630 bribe was paid in parts and then the money was channelled from the US to Goa via Dubai.

The money was allegedly paid at the residence of Kamat and Alemao, police have said.

Anand Wachasundar, director of the JICA-funded project, and Satyakam Mohanty, former India head of Louis Berger, have already been arrested by the Crime Branch, which is investigating the case.

The pay-offs came to the fore following a revelation in the US Justice Department proceedings that Indian politicians and bureaucrats had been paid off by now former Louis Berger officials to secure implementation rights for a Rs.1,031-crore water and sewage management project funded by the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).

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