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Seven people, including Louis Berger officials summoned by ED

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Panaji: Seven people, including Louis Berger officials and one alleged hawala operator were issued summons by The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday.

LouisBerger

The summons were issued in relation with a money laundering case filed in connection with the international bribery scandal involving the global consultancy company alongwith Goa’s politicians and bureaucrats.

Talking to reporters, a senior official of ED said that Satyakam Mohanty, Maladi Shivarama and Sanjay Jindal (former Louis Berger officials), Raichand Soni, an alleged hawala operator and three others were issued summons to appear before ED officials in Goa.

The ED officials have filed an Enforcement Case Investigation Record, following the bribery scandal.

Former Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, along with the then state public works department minister Churchill Alemao 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.

The bribe was allegedly taken to secure implementation rights of a multi-billion dollar water and sewerage project in Goa worth Rs.1,031 crore funded by the Japan International Co-Operation Agency (JICA), cleared in 2010 by a Congress-led coalition government.

While Alemao has been arrested, Kamat is currently out on anticipatory bail.

Soni, Mohanty and now former JICA director Anand Wachasundar have already been arrested by the Goa Police Crime Branch which is investigating the bribery case.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Goa Acknowledges Drop in Tourist Arrivals

Goa is one of the top beach and nightlife destinations in the country and last year attracted more than seven million tourists, out of which half a million were foreigners

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Calvim Ferry in Goa. Goa can be
Goa has the potential to become the Venice of the East if it taps its intricate network of inland waterways for commuting. Wikimedia Commons

Tourists arrival in Goa is on decline, acknowledged Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar here on Wednesday and underlined the need to work out solutions to address the issue.

“There is a drop in tourist arrivals in Goa and it needs to be looked into seriously,” Ajgaonkar told reporters after chairing the meeting with the industry stakeholders in Panaji.

“The problems identified will be looked into jointly after taking into confidence all the tourism associations and stakeholders,” the minister said.

Travel and tourism industry stakeholders are expected to submit a comprehensive report on issues affecting tourist arrivals, an official said.

New Year Eve Party
Goa. (Wikimedia Commons)

Industry stakeholders have cried hoarse trying to draw the government’s attention to dropping tourist footfall over the past few years, and blaming the Tourism Ministry for not doing enough to promote the state.

At the meeting, industry stakeholders, led by Travel and Tourism Association of Goa president Savio Messias, urged Ajgaonkar to address the issues plaguing the industry like harassment of tourists, nuisance caused by organised begging at tourist locations, unreasonable taxi charges by local operators, and the high goods and services tax (GST) rate.

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Ajgaonkar assured that his ministry would review the marketing strategy to promote Goa as a tourism destination more efficiently.

Goa is one of the top beach and nightlife destinations in the country and last year attracted more than seven million tourists, out of which half a million were foreigners. (IANS)