Will Digambar's arrest remain a 'dream' for Goa police?

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 22 September 2015 23:28 IST

Will the ‘dream’ of Goa police to arrest former Congress chief minister Digambar Kamat be fulfilled after it files the chargesheet tomorrow in the Louis Berger bribery case?

Because it is next to impossible for the high court to deliver the order on the anticipatory bail issue tomorrow since the hearing is still not being completed.

And once the chargesheet is filed, the whole case itself would be in the ‘custody’ of the court, thus the court would decide whether Kamat should be in the custody of the police or not.

It is mandatory for the investigating agency to file a chargesheet within 60 day and the deadline of the crime branch expires on 27 September.

The crime branch of Goa police had filed the chargesheet in the Louis Berger bribery case on 21 July.

Highly placed sources in the crime branch confirmed with goanews.com that they would file the chargesheet before the court tomorrow – 23 September – since it’s a four-day holiday for the high court, till 27 September.

“It is difficult for the police to press for Kamat’s custody after chargesheet is filed, since it would be a situation of changed circumstances”, feels Adv Cleofato Almeida Coutinho, a constitutional expert.

According to him, even former PWD minister Churchill Alemao, whose bail application has been rejected thrice, is waiting for the chargesheet to get himself released rather than approaching the Supreme Court.

He could be bailed out since it would be change of circumstances once the chargesheet is filed, adds Adv Coutinho.

Alemao, the alleged co-conspirator in the Berger bribery case, was arrested on 5 August and has been in the judicial custody since then, after spending seven days in police custody.

The crime branch, in spite of all the efforts, however could not succeed in arresting Kamat as the CBI court granted him anticipatory bail after prolonged hearings while the high court is still hearing the petition of crime branch challenging his bail.

After hearing the crime branch lawyer last week, the high court has heard Kamat’s lawyer Adv Surendra Desai only yesterday. No hearing took place today but the second session would be held tomorrow evening.


“We realised it was not possible to get the order on our petition before filing the chargesheet. But we are confident that the court would allow us to get his custody since we need him for investigation”, said a source in the crime branch.

But Adv Coutinho feels there are no grounds to arrest him now, though the crime branch can definitely file a supplementary chargesheet based on further investigation.

According to him, the police need his custody only for two reasons – to recover the missing JICA file and to recover the money he allegedly took as a bribe.

It is impossible to identify money and recover it, he said, while the former CM is not in power to hold the missing file with him while the police have failed to trace it in the last 60 days.

He also points out that bribery case is not considered a matter as serious as rape or murder where custody of the accused is a must.

Both Kamat and Alemao are facing a charge of accepting huge amount of bribe from Louis Berger Consultancy Inc, a US-based firm.

The firm has admitted before the Department of Justice in New Jersey of having paid a total bribe of Rs six crore to ‘a’ minister and government officials of Goa government when Congress was ruling before March 2012.

Louis Berger is executing a project of water supply and sewerage, financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in Goa.

During investigation, the police arrested four persons, including Alemao, but have not succeeded in arresting the former CM till date.  

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