Respite for Digambar till tomorrow morning, CB to quiz him today

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 12 August 2015 15:25 IST

Former chief minister Digambar Kamat got a respite till tomorrow morning, with the hearing on his bail application adjourned till 10 am.

After skipping summons of crime branch of Goa police today noon, he has agreed to appear at 5 pm today for interrogation.

Judge B P Deshpande of the special court at Panaji, dealing with corruption cases, did not buy the argument that Kamat is not cooperating with investigation because he did not obey the summons of today noon.

Adv Surendra Desai, counsel of Kamat, in fact alleged that the police are playing tricks in the name of interrogation.

“How could he appear before the police with last-minute summons when he had to meet the lawyer for today’s case?”, he asked.

Judge Deshpande agreed and suggested that Kamat should appear before the crime branch as and when required.

The time was fixed at 5 pm today.

Kamat is presently enjoying the interim relief granted by the court till his anticipatory bail application is disposed of.

Adv Desai also brought to the notice of the court that his client Kamat was not made the FIR available,  filed on 27 July, which is mandatory as per the high court judgement.

Adv Prasad Kirtani, counsel of the police, provided him with the FIR copy in the court and requested the court to begin the hearing.

The police lawyer also told the court that the whole investigation is held up because Kamat has not been examined by the police while all other accused arrested till date have been interrogated.

Adv Desai however told the court that Kamat has been summoned only once, on 29 July, and he is fully cooperating with the investigations.

Judge Deshpande accordingly fixed the hearing for 10 am tomorrow, after he is interrogated today evening.

Kamat is facing a charge of accepting huge amount of bribe – Rs 1.20 crore till now – to grant consultancy contract to Louis Berger International Inc., the US-based consultancy firm.

The firm is executing augmentation of water supply and sewerage project in Goa, financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Kamat was the chief minister when consultancy of JICA project was granted to Louis Berger firm.

He has been charged by the Goa police as a main criminal conspirator in the bribery case, along with his then cabinet colleague, former PWD minister Churchill Alemao.

The police have already put Alemao behind the bars since 5 August. He is still in the police custody.

Both Kamat and Alemao are facing similar charges and the special court dealing with corruption cases has refused even judicial custody to Alemao.

The police have also nabbed A M Wachasundar, Goa’s suspended project director of the JICA-funded project. He is presently been sent to the judicial custody, after his arrest on 27 July and serving police custody.

Similarly, Satyakam Mohanty, former vice president of Louis Berger (India) and Dubai-based hawala operator Jaichand Soni have also been arrested by Goa police.

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