Louis Berger case: HC upholds anticipatory bail to Goa ex-CM

Panaji, Oct 16 (IANS) The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday upheld a lower court’s order granting anticipatory bail to former Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat in the Louis Berger bribery case.

Justice C.V. Bhadang dismissed the prosecution contention that the trial court’s anticipatory bail to Congressman Kamat on August 19 was bad in law and that it was granted without considering the merits of the case.

Kamat, along with the then state public works department minister Churchill Alemao and other government officials, has been accused of allegedly accepting a $976,630 bribe in 2010 from officials of US-based Louis Berger construction consultancy firm to secure contracts for a water and sewerage augmentation project in Goa.

The project entailing expenditure of Rs.1031 crore was funded by Japan International Co-Operation Agency (JICA), and was cleared in 2010 by a Congress-led coalition government in the state.

Police submitted a charge sheet in the case on September 28, naming Alemao, Anand Wachasunder (project director), James McClung (former Asia head of Louis Berger), Satyakam Mahanty (former India head of Louis Berger), Richand Soni (alleged hawala operator) and Arthur Dsilva(a Kamat aide) as accused, while Kamat was listed as a suspect but not charge-sheeted.

Alemao and Wachasundar, who were in judicial custody for more than two months, were released on bail earlier this week.

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