Is Vijay also involved in Berger bribery case?

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 06 August 2015 10:59 IST

Will Fatorda independent MLA Vijay Sardesai be the third politician to be implicated in the Louis Berger bribery case?

This is what former Congress chief minister Digambar Kamat fears.

Sardesai also feels the ruling BJP can go to any extent to nail down their political opponents though actual investigation will prove otherwise.

It was defence minister Manohar Parrikar who hinted at a Margao public meeting asking at whose bungalow the bribery deal of Louis Berger was fixed.

Later, posts appeared on the social media, suggesting that the deal had been struck at Sardesai’s bungalow.

“When I am in no way connected with the whole issue of JICA project and Louis Berger deal, it’s clear that the whole campaign is politically motivated in view of forthcoming Margao municipal election”, feels Sardesai.

The crime branch is probing a case of Louis Berger International Inc., a US-based consultancy firm, paid a bribe of Rs six crore to Goa’s ministers and government officials to win a contract of water supply and sewerage project, funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Besides arresting Goa’s suspended JICA project director A M Wachasundar and Louis Berger (India) former vice president Satyakam Mohanty, the crime branch last night also put behind the bars Goa’s former PWD minister Churchill Alemao.

Alemao’s then Congress chief minister Digambar Kamat has already moved for anticipatory bail, fearing arrest.

Kamat was the first one to make a public mention that attempts are going on to also implicate Sardesai.

His contention is that the ruling party is trying to silence Sardesai’s voice in the ongoing Assembly session by threatening him to implicate in the case.

“I have no official indication regarding this. But I will not be surprised the way things are happening”, said Sardesai.

According to him, the whole probe of crime branch appears to have been directed by their political bosses.

He cites an example: “Louis Berger officials said in the US court that bribe was paid to ‘one’ minister. Defence minister Manohar Parrikar later said ‘two’ ministers are involved. And the Goa police implicated two former ministers. Isn’t this a clear indication?”, asks Sardesai.

Kamat in fact went one step ahead of it, alleging that people are summoned and then compelled to implicate certain politicians, failing which they are arrested.

“In fact I moved for an anticipatory bail after Wachasundar withdrew his anticipatory bail application. Poor fellow is a diabetic patient and has been forced to implicate some of us with an assurance that he will not be harassed further”, said Kamat while addressing his workers in Margao.

A M Wachasundar, project director of JICA project in Goa, was first suspended and then arrested while getting him remanded to police custody for almost eight days. After he withdrew his anticipatory bail application, he has been now sent to judicial custody.

Sources in the police department also indicate that Wachasundar would turn as an approver in the case.

The police have also recorded statements of two more former officials of Louis Berger and let them free.

Both of them have deposed before the magistrate that bribe was paid to Kamat and Alemao.

The key question however still remains. Will Sardesai be the third politician to be implicated in the case?

“Let them investigate. It’s easy to make politically motivated allegations, but difficult to find evidence of something which never happened”, said Sardesai. 

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