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Crime Branch challenges Kamat anticipatory bail in HC

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Panaji: The Bombay High Court’s Panaji bench on Thursday issued notice to former Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat, on a plea by the Crime Branch challenging his anticipatory bail in the Louis Berger bribery case.

www.topnews.in
www.topnews.in

Justice K.L. Wadane, who heard the Crime Branch’s appeal against the anticipatory bail granted to Kamat by a special court on Wednesday, has now posted the matter for August 27.

Kamat, along with Churchill Alemao, also a former chief minister, and other government officials have been accused of allegedly accepting a $976,630 bribe in 2010 from officials of US-based Louis Berger consultancy firm to secure implementation rights of a multi-billion dollar water and sewerage project in Goa funded by the Japan International Co-Operation Agency (JICA).

He has been charged with sections relating to criminal conspiracy and causing disappearance of evidence of offence of the Indian Penal Code as well aections 7, 8, 9 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Crime Branch has maintained that Kamat was delivered the bribe amount in installments. He however has cried political victimization and that he had no role in allotting the consultancy project.

Alemao, along with three others, have already been arrested in connection with the case.

(IANS)

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Louis Berger bribery case : Kamat gets bail

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Digambar Kamat
Digambar Kamat

 By NewsGram Staff Writer

Digambar Kamat, former CM of Goa, was granted anticipatory bail in relation to the Louis Berger bribery case today. Kamat was also asked to pay Rs. 1 Lakh as surety.

 The Congress leader has been interrogated five times in connection with the case. He was booked under Section 201 of IPC (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) and prior to it, he was 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 the Chief  Minister.

The Crime branch of the state is scrutinizing the Louis Berger case that pertains to the project of JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) in which it was alleged that Minister(s) and some officials had taken bribe for granting consultancy contract for the project in 2010.

The court had earlier rejected the bail plea of Churchill Alemao, former PWD minister who was arrested in the case.

Churchill Alemao
Churchill Alemao

The court has asked Kamat to not tamper with the evidence and cooperate with the Crime branch as and when required.

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Goa CM praises Leader of Opposition, with pity

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Friday appreciated Congress leader and the Leader of Opposition Pratapsingh Rane with a pinch of sarcasm.

Addressing a press conference after the conclusion of the Monsoon session of the Goa legislative assembly, Parsekar singled out septuagenarian Rane for his sense of “understanding” and even expressed pity for him.

“Very often, while demands were being put to vote (in the assembly), the only person there was the old man. There was no one else. It feels bad. Making him wait there alone till 10.30 p.m., 11.00 p.m., while we were speaking, we felt bad,” Parsekar said, while speaking about Rane and the conduct of the Opposition legislators.

The eight Congress legislators presented a muted opposition in the 40-member Goa legislative assembly during the monsoon Session.

With one of its senior leaders, former chief minister Digambar Kamat being probed for accepting bribes in the Louis Berger case and police suspicion on yet another independent legislator, the Congress, Rane included, could barely make a mark in the proceedings, with many of the Opposition benches lying vacant during legislative deliberations on most days.

A point not missed out by Parsekar.

“You have seen how many were there. Only our chairs were full. Only our members were there till the end,” Parsekar said.

“In comparison, the Congress’ attitude here was good. Our opposition leader here is very understanding,” Parsekar said, adding that at times ruling legislators were more critical of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led coalition government than the Opposition.

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ED seeks details of Goa Louis Berger bribery case

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Panaji: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Goa is keen on probing the money laundering angle in the Louis Berger bribery case, in which a former PWD minister has already been arrested.

LouisBergerAn ED official on condition of anonymity told IANS that the central government agency had sought a copy of the First Information Report filed by the Crime Branch, in connection with the $976,630 bribe paid by Louis Berger officials in 2010 to Goa politicians and bureaucrats.

The bribe was paid in order to secure implementation rights for a Rs.1,031 crore worth water and sewage management project funded by the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).

“We have not received the FIR yet. We will evaluate whether to register the case under the Money Laundering Act,” the ED official said.

Police have maintained that former Public Works Department minister Churchill Alemao and then chief minister Digambar Kamat have allegedly received bribes in installments through a ‘hawala’ channel from ex-Louis Berger officials to secure the consultancy deal in 2010.

While Alemao was arrested on Wednesday, Kamat, who has been questioned on two occasions, has secured interim bail. Both have denied accepting bribes to finalize the consultancy deal.

Police, who have also arrested an ex-director of the JICA-funded project Anan Wachasundar and former India head of Louis Berger Satyakam Mohanty, claim that they have established the ‘hawala’ money trail from the Gulf region to Delhi, Jaipur and Goa.

In a speech to BJP workers on Sunday near here Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar promised Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar of all possible help from central agencies like the ED, department of income tax, and the Central Bureau of Investigation to nail corrupt deals struck by Congress leaders.

(IANS)