Arthur free to walk, granted pre-arrest bail

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 18 August 2015 15:41 IST

Margao municipal chairperson Arthur D’Silva can now walk free. Court has granted him anticipatory bail.

In fact he is the first person to get bail without facing police lock up, in the Louis Berger bribery case.

Interestingly, the public prosecutor of crime branch of Goa police told the court that they do not require his custody.

He has been summoned four times by the police since last week, after filing an offence against him, for allegedly conspiring with former chief minister Digambar Kamat in getting a false reply under Right to Information Act.

The special court headed by B P Deshpande, while granting him pre-arrest bail, said he should cooperate with the police if he is required for interrogation in future.

Meanwhile, a group of citizens today morning gathered at Margao municipal building, demanding D’Silva’s resignation as the chairperson, due to this case.

“Let them realise now that I am innocent and have no connection with this case”, he commented while talking to goanews.com.

D’Silva had moved for anticipatory bail, fearing arrest, since the crime branch of Goa police had implicated him with a conspiracy to deliver false information in order to save Kamat, also the Margao MLA.

The JICA office had earlier furnished information to Kamat that the file with notings pertaining to the JICA-funded project of water supply and sewerage was taken by the crime branch along with other files, when they had searched the office.

D’Silva had personally gone to JICA-funded office with Kamat’s RTI letter and the authority letter given to him by the former CM, to collect the reply, on 10th August.

Next day, he had personally collected the reply from the office, which stated that the crucial file, which the crime branch claimed to have been missing, was with the crime branch.

The police wanted to arrest Kamat, alleging that the former CM had either hidden or destroyed the ‘missing’ file.

Kamat had pleaded innocent, showing the RTI reply, and had urged the court that he be granted anticipatory bail.

The crime branch however next day had recorded statement of the Public Information Officer of JICA-funded office, where he confessed that he gave a reply in haste without verifying the facts, since the Margao municipal chairperson was pressuring him to give the reply immediately.

After summoning D’Silva twice on 12th and 13th August consecutively, the crime branch had charged him under section 201 IPC, for “giving false information to screen offender.”

What it means is that Kamat, conspiring with D’Silva, sought the false information from the JICA-funded office in order to save him (Kamat) from the serious charge of corruption.

Kamat is facing a serious charge of accepting huge amount of bribe from Louis Berger International Inc., the US-based consultancy firm.

The firm has admitted before the Department of Justice in New Jersey of paying bribes of total Rs six crore to ‘a’ minister and government officials in Goa to get the consultancy contract of JICA project.

Louis Berger was selected for consultancy to implement the project, worth Rs 1031 crore, funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

 

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