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By NewsGram Staff Writer
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 who 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.
(With inputs from IANS)
Afghans lodged more than 17,000 asylum applications in the EU in September, up from 10,000 in August and nearly twice as many as Syrians. This made Afghanistan by far the main country of origin, which Syria had been for seven years until July, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) said.
Total applications in the EU exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19.
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EASO said about 71,200 applications for international protection were lodged in the EU in September 2021, up by a quarter from August and the most since November 2016.
For the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic, applications exceeded the last pre-pandemic levels in early 2020.
The rising trend in Afghan applications not only continued, but accelerated.
Applications by Afghans increased by a considerable 72 per cent, from about 10,000 in August to 17,300 in September. This increase partly reflected the evacuations that followed the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August.
Afghans were by far the largest group of applicants in the EU in September, with almost twice as many applications as by Syrians (9,100), who had been the largest group every month for seven years up to July 2021. While Afghans lodged the most applications since September 2016, their number was still less than half of the all-time high in November 2015.
the third largest group of applicants in SeptemberUnsplash
Also read: Afghan leaders meet in Geneva to start peace
Turkish nationals (3,000) were the third largest group of applicants in September, continuing to apply at the highest level on record.
Several other main nationalities recorded substantially more applications in September: Bangladeshis (2,800, a new high), Pakistanis (2,700), Albanians (2,100), Venezuelans (1,800), and Georgians and Tunisians (1,700 each). (IANS/PR)
(Keywords: Afghan, Syria, Bangladesh, Pakistan)
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