US bribery case: Officials held after refusing to implicate others in US

Former Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat has alleged that officials were arrested in connection with the Louis Berger bribery case after they refused to implicate others, and said a message was being spread that he could also be held in connection with the scam.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 05, 2015, 14:05 PM IST

Panaji: Former Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat has alleged that officials were arrested in connection with the Louis Berger bribery case after they refused to implicate others, and said a message was being spread that he could also be held in connection with the scam.

Japan International Cooperation Agency's (JICA) former head Anand Wachasunder was arrested by the Crime Branch because he refused to implicate others, Kamat alleged while addressing Congress workers in Margao last evening.

"Wachasunder was asked to give the statement that he was there when bribe was paid (to ministers). But Wachasunder refused. He said I don't want to tell a lie, I was never part of anything. He was arrested immediately," he said.

"Similar is with Louis Berger official (former country head Satyakam Mohanty). He was called for investigation and he said I don't know what these two people (company officials who have confessed in the US to have paid bribe) have done...He is also arrested," Kamat said.

"This kind of situation is not good for the state," he said, adding that "they are trying to pass on a message that tomorrow you can also be arrested."

Kamat has been questioned by the Crime Branch twice in the pay-off scandal. The 61-year-old Congress leader was heading the state between 2007 and 2012 when the New Jersey-based consultancy firm allegedly paid the bribes.

"They are trying to suppress the voice of people," he said alleging that when Independent MLA Vijai Sardesai raised his voice in Assembly in connection with the case, an attempt was also made to implicate him.

"These kind of tactics can't survive for long, the truth will prevail," the former CM said.

US multinational Louis Berger has been charged with bribing Indian officials with several crores of rupees to win two major water developmental projects in Goa and Guwahati.

The alleged bribery of USD 976,630 for a Goa project included kickbacks to a minister, the details of which have not been disclosed by the US Department of Justice.

All the tenders for the JICA project, of which Louis Berger was the consultant, were issued as per Central Public Works Department prescribed norms.

In another development, Kamat today moved a local court seeking anticipatory bail, fearing arrest in connection with the bribery case.