Wachasundar 'in', 1st arrest in Louis Berger bribery case

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 27 July 2015 18:26 IST

M A Wachasundar, project director of the controversial JICA project of water supply and sewerage, was arrested by the Crime Branch of Goa police today.

Following a disclosure by Department of Justice of USA regarding Louis Berger admitting bribing Goan minister and officials in getting the consultancy project, the Crime Branch of Goa police had registered a case against ‘unknown minister’ and others.

Louis Berger had admitted before the court of giving total bribe of $9,76,630 to the ministers and officials to get water developmental projects in Goa and Assam.

Wachasundar, who was the principal chief engineer of Goa’s Public Works Department when the project had started rolling in 2010, was continued as the project director even after he retired.

The police had raided his office soon after registering the case on 21 July and seized all the relevant documents.

His services were yesterday terminated by the government, marking him the first victim of the bribery case.

“He was not cooperating with us in the investigations”, said the police investigating into the bribery case.

The information reveals that the police have also recorded statements of some witnesses, based on which Wachasundar has been arrested as one of the prime accused.

Sections relating to anti-corruption act have been levied against him, including accepting bribes for a public project.

He would be produced before the Special anti-corruption Court tomorrow, seeking remand.

Meanwhile, chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar today said in the Assembly that his government would not spare anybody in the case.

The bribery case had taken place during the Congress regime, when the ruling BJP was in the opposition.

Churchill Alemao, who was defeated in the 2012 election, was the PWD minister at this time.

BJP’s defence minister Manohar Parrikar, who was also heading the coalition government in Goa earlier, has pointed out fingers at both Churchill as well as former chief minister Digambar Kamat.

Both Digambar and Churchill however have denied their involvement in the bribery case.

Caitu Silva, who defeated Churchill’s daughter Valanka from Benaulim in the last Assembly election, today said he wants the ‘real’ culprits to be arrested instead of officials like Wachasundar.

His Goa Vikas Party supports the BJP-led coalition government while his leader and former minister Mickky Pacheco is presently serving a jail term for assaulting a government official.

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