Panaji: Although Louis Berger is under scanner in Goa for the alleged bribery scam, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has said that the US firm was not blacklisted in the state. “Louis Berger company is not registered as a consultant with PWD, and as such no action is initiated against them towards blacklisting,” Parsekar said in a written reply tabled on the floor of the House during recently concluded winter session of the Goa Legislative Assembly.
The CM’s response was to a query by Independent legislator Rohan Khaunte during the assembly session. Responding to another question, Parsekar said the bribery scam in Goa was that of $9,76,630. The Crime Branch is investigating this case of alleged payment of bribe by officials of Louis Berger to an Indian minister to win consultancy for a water augmentation and sewerage project funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Goa.
The investigating agency has booked former Chief minister Digambar Kamat, former Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao, former Project Director of JICA in Goa Anand Wachasunder, Louis Berger’s former India Vice President Satyakam Mohanty, alleged hawala operator Raichand Soni and others in the pay-off scandal. They have been booked under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 201 (destruction of evidence and giving false statement) of Indian Penal Code and various sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.
Parsekar told the House that police were trying to seek custodial interrogation of the 61-year-old Congress leader, under whose tenure the scam took place. “The application for cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to Kamat who is the prime conspirator in this case is pending before Supreme Court. The investigation in respect of accused (Kamat) could not be completed as his custodial interrogation is essential to unearth the deep rooted conspiracy. “The supplementary report will be submitted before Special Judge, Panjim after conclusion of investigation in respect of the prime conspirator,” he said in reply.
Last year, a local court had granted anticipatory bail to Kamat who has rejected all charges against him as politically motivated.