Digambar and Churchill took bribes 8 times from Louis Berger

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 08 August 2015 11:57 IST

Goa police have so far unearthed that former chief minister Digambar Kamat and former PWD minister Churchill Alemao took bribes from US-based Louis Berger International Inc. on eight different occasions.

The amount of bribes so far calculated is Rs 2.55 crore. But it is still not known the amount of bribe they took on three other occasions.

The amount quantified till now is Rs 1.2 crore taken by Kamat on two different occasions and Rs 1.35 crore taken by Alemao on three occasions.

Goa police are apparently still investigating into more bribes taken – twice by Kamat and once by Alemao.

Louis Berger officials have however told that they gave bribes of total Rs six crore to Goa’s ministers and government officials. ($ 976,630).

They have even maintained a diary with all the details, for which the Goa police have written a Letter Regotary to the US court.

The crime branch of Goa police has provided this information to the special court in Panaji, dealing with corruption cases, while pressing for their arrest.

Alemao is already locked up behind the bars while Kamat has been granted interim relief, pending hearing on his anticipatory bail plea on 12 August.

Both of them deny having taken any bribe from anybody in connection with JICA-funded water supply and sewerage project, for which Louis Berger is the main consultant.

The Louis Berger officials, before the US court, have admitted of giving bribe to ‘a minister and government officials’ without naming anybody.

However, Goa police have managed to get two former officials of Louis Berger and one director of a co-consultant in the consortium to depose before the magistrate that bribe was paid on different occasions from 2009 to 2011.

The box below shows what these officials have told the police:

2009-10

 

 

Digambar Kamat

Twice

Amt not known

Churchill Alemao

Once

Amt not known

Churchill Alemao

Once

Rs 60 lakh

2010-11

 

 

Digambar Kamat

Twice

Rs 1.20 crore

Churchill Alemao

Once

Rs 60 lakh

Churchill Alemao

Once

Rs 15 lakh

 

Eight Times

Rs 2.55 crore

 

One of these officials has confessed on oath before the court that he has personally delivered huge amount of bribe, on two occasions, to both Kamat and Alemao in 2009-10. The amount however has not been disclosed.

A director of the consortium of consultants has also deposed before the judge that he has personally paid a bribe of Rs 60 lakh to Alemao at his Varca residence in 2009-10.

Yet another Louis Berger official has told the court that he has witnessed altogether four transactions of paying bribes in 2010-11.

It includes Rs 60 lakh paid to Kamat, twice. Also Rs 60 lakh once and Rs 15 lakh the second time to Alemao.

According to the police, the file of JICA  project was kept on hold in 2010, together by Kamat and Alemao, to send feelers to Louis Berger to satisfy ‘the urge for monetary benefits for awarding the consultancy work.’

JICA-funded project director A M Wachasundar, who has also been arrested, played as a mediator for these deals, according to police.

One of the former Luis Berger employees has said that Sanjay Jindal and Prasanna Shah paid huge amount of bribes to both Kamat and Alemao, as per the instructions of Wachasundar.

The police have also cited yet another incident, when Kamat and Alemao kept on hold the payment of consultancy fee and reimbursement of service tax - total Rs 82.72 crore - for almost four months, till bribes were paid to release the payment. 

However, except depositions by these officials and consultants, the police have not substantiated the charges with any other documentary evidence.

The diary of Louis Berger International Inc. and the email correspondence taken place between the US and Indian officials could be the only evidence they have to now wait for.

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