Wachasundar's bail rejected once again, Churchill's order reserved

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 10 September 2015 12:38 IST

Third attempt of A M Wachasundar, the first arrest in the Louis Berger bribery case, proved to be a failure as the CBI court today once again rejected his bail application.

He is presently serving a judicial custody and has been in a lock up for almost two months.

Wachasundar, project director of the JICA-funded water supply and sewerage project of Goa, was arrested by the crime branch of Goa police on 27 July.

Meanwhile, the high court has reserved order of former PWD minister Churchill Alemao’s petition, challenging rejection of his bail application.

Alemao was arrested on 5 August and has been in the judicial custody after locked up at crime branch police station for seven days. He is inside for 36 days now.

Bail applications of both Alemao and Wachasundar were rejected by the CBI court on 17 August.

The high court has also dismissed plea of hawala operator Raichand Soni to go to Dubai for his children’s school admission.

Soni was arrested on 7 August and was granted conditional bail on 19 August, but has not been allowed to travel outside.

It was however Wachasundar’s arrest that had started unfolding the biggest ever bribery case of Goa, involving political bigwigs.

 

Besides Alemao, former chief minister Digambar Kamat has also been charged of accepting huge amount of bribes from Louis Berger International Inc., the US-based consultancy firm.

The case had come to light with the US firm admitting before the Department of Justice in New Jersey of paying total bribe of Rs six crore to ‘a’ minister and government officials of Goa for the project.

Louis Berger has been executing the project worth Rs 1031 crore, financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at a very low interest.

Wachasundar, who was appointed the project director while holding the position of principal chief engineer of the PWD, has also admitted that bribes were paid to the ministers.

In fact police claim that Wachasundar was a mediator between the Kamat-Alemao duo and the Louis Berger official in striking all the bribery deals.

Wachasundar, while in police custody, had moved a bail application.

In a surprising move, Wachasundar withdrew his bail application, which prompted ex-CM Kamat to move for anticipatory bail, fearing arrest.

 

Wachasundar, the key dealer in the bribery case, had then moved for anticipatory bail after he was remanded to judicial custody. But it was rejected on 17 August.

Wachasundar had now once again moved for anticipatory bail, claiming change of circumstances.

The CBI court has however dismissed his contention and denied him freedom from jail.

The only accused who are released till date are former vice president of Louis Berger (India) Satyakam Mohanty and hawala operator Soni.

Kamat, allegedly a co-conspirator of Alemao, has been granted anticipatory bail.

The crime branch has been now battling in the high court to get the bail cancelled and arrest Goa’s former chief minister – Digambar Kamat. 

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