Louis Berger case: Police rule out immediate arrests

Panaji, Aug 4 (IANS) Goa DGP T.N. Mohan on Tuesday ruled out any immediate arrests in the Louis Berger bribery case.

This could bring temporary relief to former chief minister Digambar Kamat and ex-PWD minister Churchill Alemao.

Both have been accused of allegedly accepting bribes from Louis Berger officials in 2010 to secure implementation of Rs.1,031 crore water and sewerage management project funded by the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).

Mohan also indicated that police may not have enough evidence yet against Kamat and Alemao.

Asked specifically if there was any chance of their arrest, Mohan said: “It will all depend on how much evidence we are able to gather against somebody. Arrest is something you do when you have sufficient evidence.”

Top officials of Louis Berger have already pleaded guilty to a US court of offering bribes of $3.9 million to secure contracts in countries like India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kuwait.

While the settlement announced by the US Justice Department did not identify the politicians and officials who were offered bribes, the documents revealed that $976,630 was paid in bribes during 2009-2010 to a Goa minister and other officials.

Louis Berger was part of a consortium that eventually won a contract to execute a multi-billion dollar water and sewerage project funded by the JICA.

Two people, including the director of the JICA-funded project Anand Wachasundar and former India head of Louis Berger Satyakam Mohanty have already been arrested.

Kamat and Alemao have been questioned on more than one occasion.

Mohan also said that contact had already been established with the US officials through proper channels to seek record statements of Louis Berger officials and other connected to the bribery case.

“We have sent the US officials a letter rogatory,” Mohan said.

A letter rogatory is a formal request made to a foreign court for judicial assistance, which also includes recording of evidence on foreign soil.

 

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