5 officials swearing bribe paid is enough to arrest Digambar: Police

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 13 August 2015 22:04 IST

Goa police has said deposition of five responsible people from three different organisations is more than enough evidence to charge former chief minister Digambar Kamat as one of the main conspirators in the Louis Berger bribery case.

The crime branch pressed for his arrest, by denying him anticipatory bail, quoting Supreme Court rulings and other documentary evidence gathered in this regard, amidst the missing file of JICA project.

Adv Guruprasad Kirtani, the police counsel, said:

“The Supreme Court order of 1999 has already stated that there cannot be direct evidence available in case of a bribe. It needs to be established with the chain of events. The crime branch has gathered such evidence with depositions of five responsible officials as well as documentary evidence.”

Kamat, along with former PWD minister Churchill Alemao, is charged of taking huge amount of bribes on different occasions from Louis Berger International Inc., the US-based consultancy firm.

The firm was granted consultancy contract of an augmentation of water and sewerage project in Goa, funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), worth Rs 1031 crore.

The consultancy fees were Rs 75 crore and the bribes alleged to have been paid is Rs 6 crore.

While police have already arrested Alemao as well as three other persons, Kamat has moved for anticipatory bail in the case. His plea was heard today by the Special Court at Panaji, headed by P B Deshpande.

Dismissing contention of Kamat’s lawyer Adv Surendra Desai that the police have gathered statements of former employees of Louis Berger, Adv Kirtani said they are not mere employees but regional manager and area manager, handling Goa operations.

“These responsible officials have deposed before the magistrate of delivering bribes to Kamat and Alemao”, he said.

The other person who has deposed is the vice president of Louis Berger’s, Satyakam Mohanty, an equally responsible holding India’s operations when the bribes were paid. He was arrested on 3 July.

Adv Kirtani also brought to the notice of the court that the same story of three responsible officials of Louis Berger was substantiated by Prasanna Shah, one of the partners in the consortium of consultants.

In addition, said the Goa police counsel, the hawala operator Raichand Soni has corroborated with the facts of delivering the bribe money, on different occasions, to the Louis Berger officials.

The same story of bribe payment has now also been confirmed by A M Wachasundar, the project director of Goa’s JICA-funded project.

“They have not only admitted of having paid bribes to Kamat and Alemao but have even identified different houses where the bribe was paid”, he pointed out.

Adv Kirtani felt that former chief minister Kamat cannot play ignorance of the whole affair when he had even mediated to get the stalled JICA project going with top bureaucrats intervening.

“He was the chief minister and was at the helm of affairs when Louis Berger was chosen to be the consultant in 2009. How can he claim that he was not at all connected”, he asked.

Regarding failure of the police in getting James McCland - the in-charge of India operations of Louis Berger projects - who has admitted of having paid bribes before the USA court, the police said efforts are on to get him in Goa.

“But getting him as well as the documents with the US authorities would be additional evidence in the case. Not getting him or the documents to India cannot be the ground not to arrest the former chief minister”, argued Adv Kirtani.

The Goa police also told the court today that Kamat has shown a photocopy of the crucial missing JICA file to many media persons as well as his supporters, after his involvement in the bribery case became public.

“Why did he keep photocopy of the file if he was not connected with the JICA project”, he argued.

Adv Kirtani concluded his arguments stating that “the investigations are at a threshold and cannot go ahead without custody of former chief minister Digambar Kamat.”

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Previous Comments

Goa wake up.. now in the next election let make congress win and put bjp polictians behind bars..

goood way of living ...

- spider, goa | 17 th August 2015 16:34

 

I really appreciate this. Time has come to think of nation and not of an individual... Digambar should be put behind bars ...

- Yuvraj Sinari, Margao | 14 th August 2015 00:20

 

Nice to get updates

- Dinar, Madgaon | 13 th August 2015 22:34

 

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