Thursday , 27 February 2020
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Digambar Kamat speaking to media at Crime Branch office, Ribandar after being questioned.

Louis Berger’s former country head held

 

PANAJI: Crime Branch probing Louis Berger bribery case on Monday arrested former vice-president of Louis Berger’s India operations Satyakam Mohanty for not cooperating with police during investigation.

This is the second arrest in the case as last week Crime Branch had arrested the former head of the Goa Water Supply and Sewerage Project funded by JICA Anand Wachasundar. He is currently in police custody.

Mohanty was questioned by the police on Sunday and also on Monday at the Crime Branch office, Ribandar. “Mohanty was arrested as he did not cooperate with the cops. Custodial inquiry is needed,” claimed a senior police officer.

Sources claimed that Mohanty a resident of Gurgaon, was the country head (Louis Berger) since 1997 to 2012 and according to reports in 2010 the bribe was allegedly paid to the Goa ministers and others to secure the consultancy work.

However, Mohanty termed his arrest as politically motivated and claimed innocence. “It is a political game and I am made a scapegoat. I am not involved,” he said while he was being taken for medical examination. Mohanty will be produced in the special court on Tuesday while hearing on the bail application of Wachasundar is also on the same day.

Meanwhile, Margao MLA Digambar Kamat was questioned for the second time in connection with the case on Monday. Last week Kamat as well as former PWD Minister Churchill Alemao was questioned. Alemao too was questioned twice last week. According to police, both were summoned and questioned as during the course of investigation their names had featured as beneficiaries of the bribe money.

“I came as I was summoned by the Crime Branch. I answered whatever queries they (police) had and if they call again, I will come,” said Kamat while leaving the crime branch office on Monday. Kamat appeared before the investigating agency at around 5.30 pm and left around 6.30 pm.

Crime Branch police has already taken statements of three witnesses under Section 164 of CrPc before a magistrate. The witnesses according to sources have claimed the money has allegedly been paid to the ministers as well as Wachasundar. Statements of witnesses have also revealed that hawala route was used for payment of bribe money.

The FIR in the case was lodged on July 21 against an unidentified Minister who held office in 2010 and also against Louis Berger company under criminal conspiracy and Prevention of Corruption Act. According to reports, US-based Louis Berger was part of a consortium for Goa water supply and sewerage project funded by JICA in Goa and had reportedly paid bribe of over $ 9 lakh.

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