Fresh charge on Kamat,  Alemao is denied bail

Alemao, who was PWD Minister in the Kamat Govt, and three others, including ex-Vice-President of Louis Berger Satyakam Mohanty, head of JICA-aided project in Goa Anand Wachasunder and alleged hawala dealer Raychand Soni have been arrested in connection with the case

Panaji : In fresh trouble for former Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat in the Louis Berger bribery case, Crime Branch has slapped an additional charge of causing disappearance of evidence apart from those already brought against him under IPC and anti-graft law.

In a related development, a Goa court on Monday rejected the bail plea of former Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao and an ex-official arrested in the case.

“Section 201 of IPC (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) was added in the FIR against Kamat yesterday,” a senior Crime Branch official told PTI. The beleaguered Congress leader was earlier booked under IPC Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and Sections 7, 8, 9 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act in connection with the case, which took place when he was Chief Minister. Crime Branch is investigating the case of alleged payment of bribe by officials of Louis Berger, a US-based firm, to an Indian Minister to win consultancy for a water augmentation and sewerage project funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Goa. The Section pertaining to disappearance of evidence was added against Kamat after a senior official in JICA’s Goa office told police that the former CM had allegedly forced him to give wrong information about an important file related to the case which the Investigating Officer is looking for and has gone missing, he said. Kamat was allegedly aided by Margao Municipal Council Chairperson Arthur D’Silva in pressurising the officer to give false information, the official said. Crime Branch has already interrogated D’Silva. Alemao, who was PWD Minister in the Kamat Government, and three others, including former Vice-President of Louis Berger Satyakam Mohanty, head of JICA-aided project in Goa Anand Wachasunder and alleged hawala dealer Raychand Soni have been arrested in connection with the case.

Fearing arrest, Kamat, already questioned by Crime Branch, had filed a petition for anticipatory bail on which a decision is expected on August 19.

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