Louis Berger case is taking new turn every day with the new revelations from accused as well as the investigating agencies. After the statement of two officers from the US based company police tightened the knot around the accused involved into this scam, few has been arrested and remaining still waiting for their turn. While the investigation is still underway the new facts has been revealed by the investigation agency about the Louis Berger bribery case. According to them there is a section of congress-led government who used all delaying tactics to generate pressure on the company to make them to pay the money and they have not issued the contract of water supply sanitation until the bribes were paid.
Few ministers who have been paid the huge amount whose names have been already revealed by the Louis Berger officials based on the information, Enforcement Directorate (ED) has already registered the case against the unnamed ministers under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). An Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) was filed after the ED received a copy of the FIR filed by the Goa Crime Branch. “An ECIR in M/s Louis Berger International Inc bribery case against ministers in Government of Goa during 2010 and others has been filed. The ECIR is filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,” said the ED official to the media.
According to the information given by some Senior Goa Police officers, the key witnesses told the probing team that the feelers were sent to the company after award of the contract was delayed. The team has also revealed that the Louis Berger officials met Churchill Alemao, the then PWD minister and Digamber Kamat, the former congress-led government chief minister. The Churchill Alemao has already been arrested by the crime branch while Digamber Kamat is still enjoying the relief given by the court which is extended till 12th August 2015. “The Crime Branch was supposed to file a reply against the anticipatory bail application at 2.30 pm on Friday but they failed to do so. Therefore, the court extended the protection granted to him,” Kamat’s counsel Surendra Desai told the media.
Another accused in the Louis Berger case Raichand Soni who was arrested by the crime branch on Friday in connection with 1.85 crore bribes paid to the ministers between 2009 and 2011. The money was paid through HAWALA channel and Delhi based Hawala operator is the missing link in this case, said the police official. The police confirmed that Soni will be produced before the court to seek his remand for further necessary investigation.
As per the information provided by the police officers “The bidding process started in 2009. Four firm submitted bids but Louis Berger was invited by the government as they were the first bidder and they fulfilled quality standards. When there was inordinate delay, the company got jittery. It wanted to bag the contract to establish itself as a reliable consultancy agency in India and enhance its profile. This was the reason why bribes were paid to the ministers.” According to the officer, Kamat despite being the chief minister did not overrule Churchill Alemao’s decision relating to this contract. The remand application filed in court Thursday by the Crime Branch, seeking custody of Churchill Alemao, mentions one such instance where the chief minister did not intervene.
Louis Berger case which is just the tip of an iceberg is the clear cut case of how the government and bureaucrats operates in the country. How the contract system and tendering process takes place. This fact is not hidden from anybody but everybody maintains the silence over it, as nobody wants to take the “PANGA” with the system. Everything is legal in the country till it is not proved otherwise and the process involved proving otherwise is highly complicated, expensive and many a time life threatening. Please do leave your comments and suggestions on this burning issue which is haunting our state at the moment.
Edited by: Goa Prism News Desk