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US bribery case: Parrikar, Goa CM seek CBI probe

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his predecessor and Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Sunday sought a CBI probe into the alleged bribery case involving a US firm to win a contract for a water development scheme in the state when the Congress government was in power.



Panaji: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his predecessor and Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Sunday sought a CBI probe into the alleged bribery case involving a US firm to win a contract for a water development scheme in the state when the Congress government was in power.

Parrikar also alleged that two former ministers in the previous Congress-led Digambar Kamat government might be involved in the bribery case but did not name anyone.

The reactions by the two BJP leaders came in the wake of a New Jersey-based construction management firm Louis Berger being charged with bribing Indian officials with several crores to win two major water developmental projects in Goa and Guwahati.

The alleged bribery of USD 976,630 for a Goa project by Louis Berger included that to a minister, the details of which have not been disclosed by the US Department of Justice. Federal prosecutors, in their 11-page chargesheet, alleged that Louis Berger maintained a detailed diary and account of bribery made to Indian officials.

"Since it is an international matter, Goa police can't investigate it. That is why the government has decided to write to Prime Minister and Union Home Minister demanding a CBI inquiry into it. Truth should be revealed to the people," Parsekar told reporters here.

"When the contracts were awarded, Congress leader Digambar Kamat was the Chief Minister and Churchill Alemao was Public Works Department Minister. Now it should be revealed which minister took the bribe," Parsekar said.

Addressing BJP workers in Margao town, Parrikar noted that the incident happened when Digambar Kamat-led government was in power.

"Since the work was related to JAICA (Japan International funding project), then PWD Minister might be involved, but moreover since it is dealing with the financial approval for the project, there is likelihood that one more minister may be involved," Parrikar said without naming anyone.

An inquiry by CBI into the entire episode will reveal the truth behind the bribery, he added.

Two days back, Louis Berger agreed to pay USD 17.1 million criminal fine to resolve charges that it bribed officials in India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Kuwait to secure government construction management contracts.

Two of its former executives - Richard Hirsch (61) of Philippines and James McClung (59) of the UAE - pleaded guilty to the charges.

The Indian government, assisted by Japanese government, initiated the five-year Goa Water Supply and Sewerage Project to expand, rehabilitate and build water and sewerage facilities.

Louis Berger was part of a consortium for the project in Goa. The consortium included two Japanese firms and an Indian partner.

The team developed a project management information system and plan, evaluated bids, reviewed design and construction plans, and ensured quality work was done on time and within budget, the company says on its website. 

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