Centre allows Goa to approach US court for Berger bribery info

PTI, NEW DELHI | 31 August 2015 09:19 IST

Decks have been cleared to issue Letters Rogatory to a US court to take the statement of a former top executive of Louis Berger after he reportedly admitted that the company allegedly bribed Goa politicians to win a major water and sewage project.

The Home Ministry has given its nod to the Goa government to approach a local court to issue the LR to a court in New Jersey to obtain a statement of company's former senior Vice President James McClung.

A Letters Rogatory is a formal request made to a foreign court for judicial assistance, which also includes recording of evidence on foreign soil.

A senior Home Ministry official told PTI that the clearance to obtain the LR was given after the Goa government approached the ministry seeking its approval to take McClung's statement and to obtain required documents related to the case from Louis Berger through the US court.

The Goa Police has already issued a summon to McClung at the Louis Berger offices in Gurgaon, Hyderabad and Mumbai asking him to be present at its crime branch office.

However, McClung is in the US and unlikely to come and hence the move to issue the LR to take his statement.

Last month, McClung has reportedly admitted before the New Jersey court that the company allegedly bribed Goa's politicians and officials in 2010 to seal a multi-billion dollar management project.

The alleged scam is related to water and sewage management projects when McClung oversaw the Louis Berger operations in Vietnam and India.

Louis Berger International, the New Jersey-based construction management company has been charged with paying a bribe of around USD one million for projects in Goa and Guwahati. Louis Berger had admitted to violating the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Law.

So far, the Goa Police has arrested former PWD Minister Churchill Alemao, former JICA project director Anand Wachasundar, former Louis Berger vice president Satyakam Mohanty and alleged hawala operator Raychand Soni.

While Mohanty and Soni were released on bail, a special court had granted anticipatory bail to former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat in the case.

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