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Louis Berger bribery case: No doubt that corruption took place, says police

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Panaji:  There is no doubt that corruption took place in the Louis Berger international bribery case and summoning of the firm’s indicted officials cannot be ruled out, a senior Goa Police officer said on Wednesday.
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The comment by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sunil Garg came a day after the Crime Branch (CB) filed an FIR against “some ministers” in the case.

Garg is supervising the CB probe into the $976,630 bribes paid by the international consultancy firm to a Goa minister and officials.

He said he had no inkling of the case being handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as publicly announced last week by Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.

“Corruption has been proved by US judicial proceedings, so there is no doubt. That has been established at the international level also, so corruption is there.

“We have to ascertain who are the involved persons in this case,” Garg said, not ruling out the involvement of more than one minister in the case.

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

While the settlement announced by the US Justice Department did not identify the politicians and officials who were offered bribes, the documents revealed that $976,630 was paid in bribes during 2009-2010 to a Goa minister and other officials.

Former Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat and former public works department minister Churchill Alemao could also come within the ambit of the bribery investigation, sources said. Both Kamat and Alemao have denied the allegation.

Louis Berger was part of a consortium that eventually won a contract to execute a multi-billion dollar water and sewerage project in Goa funded by the Japan International Co-Operation Agency (JICA).

Asked whether summons would be issued to Louis Berger officials, Garg said: “Whoever is connected in this case or whose name will come up during investigation will be summoned and interrogated.”

Asked whether the FIR will be handed over to the CBI subsequently, as announced by the chief minister earlier, Garg said: :That I do not know. We are investigating the case with serious efforts.”

Garg also said that the union ministry for external affairs and the Interpol would be approached as and when required in course of the investigation. (IANS)

 

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‘Doodle 4 Google’ Opens Public Voting

The first edition of "Doodle 4 Google India" was held in 2009 and the theme was "My India"

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

Google on Tuesday opened public online voting for 20 children shortlisted for its annual ‘Doodle 4 Google’ competition.

The annual competition, announced early in August, encouraged creative, art-loving students across India to bring their imagination to life for the search engine giant’s logo.

This year’s theme was “what inspires you”. The doodle, incorporating letters G-o-o-g-l-e, were to be created using crayons, clay, water colours and graphic design.

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Representational Image of ‘Doodle for Google’. Flickr

From a beautiful sight at the beach to nature’s tiny creatures; India’s farmer community to the Indian folk music; space exploration to learning from animals; children drew their inspiration using crayons, clay and graphic designs, the tech giant said in a statement.

Of the 75,000 students, from Class 1 to 10, across the country who sent in their entries, more than 55 per cent were from non-metro cities, including Visakhapatnam, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Bareilly, Kottayam and Bhubaneswar.

Out of these, Google shortlisted 20 from five categories: Group 1 comprising students from Class 1 to 2; Group 2 with students from Class 3 to 4; Group 3 with students from Class 5 to 6; Group 4 with students from Class 7 to 8 and Group 5 with students from Class 9 to 10.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

The online voting, which began on Tuesday, will continue till November 6 (until 10 a.m.). People can cast their votes on the Doodle 4 Google 2018 voting page.

The doodle with the maximum votes will get featured on Google’s home page on Children’s Day that falls on November 14.

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The national winner would win a Rs 5 lakh college scholarship, a Rs 2 lakh technology package for their school, as well as a trip to the Google office in India, among other prizes, the company said.

The first edition of “Doodle 4 Google India” was held in 2009 and the theme was “My India”. (IANS)