Panaji: The officials of the Goa Crime Branch and Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday conducted searches at various places, including the residence of state's former chief minister Digambar Kamat in connection with the Louis Berger bribery case.
ED sleuths along with Crime Branch officials also raided several premises owned by Kamat's close relatives in connection with the case.
The raids began early morning at Kamat`s residence in Margao, 35 kms from the state capital, his office premises in the city as well as the residential and business premises of his close relative in Panaji.
Two weeks ago, ED had filed a Enforcement Case Information Report under the Prevention of Money Launching act in connection with the Louis Berger international bribery scam, after it was revealed that the money for the bribes was routed through the hawala channel.
An alleged hawala dealer Raichand Soni was also arrested by the Crime Branch in connection with the bribery case in which two former chief ministers, including Kamat and officials are in the dock.
The move comes a day after a special anti-corruption court granted anticipatory bail to Kamat in connection with the bribery case.
Kamat has been on interim bail for nearly two weeks, even as the prosecution, which has been demanding his arrest, has alleged that the former chief minister received more than Rs.1 crore in bribes in multiple instalments, including one at the official residence of the chief minister, to allot the consultancy project to Louis Berger in 2010 when he was heading a Congress-led coalition government.
Kamat, along with Churchill Alemao, a former PWD minister and other government officials have been accused of allegedly accepting a $976,630 bribe in 2010 from officials of US-based Louis Berger consultancy firm to secure implementation rights of a multi-billion dollar water and sewerage project in Goa worth Rs.1,031 crore funded by the Japan International Co-Operation Agency (JICA), which was cleared in 2010.
In their petition to the special court, the police through the prosecution lawyer had argued, that Kamat had been a habitual offender and sought his custody claiming he had a copy of a crucial JICA file which has "disappeared" and whose recovery was vital to the investigation.
Kamat had insisted that the project had been cleared by the PWD ministry and that he had no role in allotting the consultancy project.
With IANS inputs