Will hearings on Digambar bail case before SC end on 3 March?

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 24 February 2016 21:21 IST

Hearing on the long-awaited petition filed by the BJP government before the Supreme Court, challenging the anticipatory bail granted to former Congress chief minister Digambar Kamat, may end by first week of March.

Almost after 7 adjournments, the matter was today heard by the apex court.

Assistant Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, on behalf of Goa government, argued today for almost one hour, pleading strongly to cancel Kamat’s anticipatory bail.

While arguing how serious the matter of bribery case, he also submitted nine confessional statements recorded before the magistrate to prove that Kamat had accepted a bribe of total Rs 1.20 crore.

Kamat’s counsel Adv Kapil Sibal sought time to place his arguments.

The next hearing, scheduled on 3 March, is expected to be the final one after which the apex court may deliver its judgement over the issue.

Goa government had filed a petition before the apex court, challenging the anticipatory bail granted to Kamat in the Louis Berger bribery case by the CBI court and then upheld by the high court.

Goa’s BJP government is desperately trying to arrest Kamat, who has been inducted in the bribery case along with former PWD minister Churchill Alemao as co-conspirators.

The crime branch of Goa police could nab Alemao and send him behind the bars for over two months (68 days), but could not succeed in taking former Congress CM into custody.

 

While Alemao was arrested on 5 August, Kamat filed the anticipatory bail before CBI court the same day and managed to get reprieve from the court on 19 August.

The crime branch immediately moved to the high court, challenging the lower court order, but the Bombay high court at Goa upheld the order on 16 October, as the hearing prolonged for almost two months.

BACKGROUND

Kamat, the Margao MLA and Alemao, who lost 2012 election, were indicted in the Louis Berger bribery case by filing a FIR on 21 July.

Since then, crime branch of Goa police arrested five persons, including Alemao but did not succeed in taking Kamat into custody.

Both the Congress heavyweights are charged of taking huge amount of bribes, on more than two occasions, from Louis Berger International Inc, a US-based consultancy firm.

The firm is executing a water supply and sewerage project worth Rs 1031 crore, financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The bribery case came to light when James McClung, Asia head of Louis Berger, admitted before the Department of Justice in New Jersey of having paid total bribe of Rs six crore to ‘a’ minister and government officials for getting the award of work.   

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