Free Press Journal

Louis Berger probe: Former Goa CM appears before crime branch


Louis Berger

Panaji: Former Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat on Wednesday appeared before the state police crime branch in connection with the Louis Berger bribery case. Earlier in the day, the Congress legislator from Margao constituency maintained his innocence and said he did not meet anyone from Louis Berger.

The New Jersey-based international consultancy firm’s officials have admitted to paying $976,630-bribe for securing water and sewerage project funded by a Japanese government agency.

“I have nothing to do with Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) project. The file did not come to me,” Kamat said. The crime branch has already arrested Anand Wachasunder, a key official in charge of the JICA project and questioned former public works department minister Churchill Alemao in the bribery case on two occasions.

Top officials of Louis Berger have pleaded guilty to offering bribes of $3.9 million to secure contracts in countries like India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kuwait.

While the settlement announced by the US Justice Department did not identify the politicians and officials offered the bribes, the documents revealed that $976,630 in bribes was paid during 2009-2010 to a Goa minister and other officials. Louis Berger was part of a consortium that eventually won a contract to execute a water and sewerage project in Goa, funded by JICA.