Louis Berger Bribery Case: Goa Police File FIR Against Unidentified Former Minister

22/07/2015 9:01 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Indian policemen stand guard outside the Basilica of Bom Jesus before the start of a procession carrying the remains of St. Francis Xavier in Goa on November 22, 2014. The 17th exposition of the body of St Francis Xavier will be held from November 22 to January 4, 2015 in Goa, for veneration by pilgrims. AFP PHOTO/ PUNIT PARANJPE (Photo credit should read PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)

PANAJI -- Goa Crime Branch on Tuesday filed an FIR against an unidentified former minister of the state and officials of US-based company Louis Berger, which is at the centre of a bribery scandal.

The FIR was registered under IPC Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 against an unknown former Goa Minister and Louis Berger officials, Superintendent of Police (Crime Branch) Karthik Kashyap told reporters today.

Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had on Monday directed Crime Branch to carry out a preliminary probe into the bribery scandal and submit a report in two days.

Louis Berger has been charged with bribing Indian officials with several crores to secure two major water developmental projects - one each in Goa and Guwahati. The consulting firm provides engineering, architecture, construction management, environmental planning and science, and economic development services.

The alleged bribery of USD 9,76,630 for the Goa project included bribe to a minister, the details of which have not been disclosed by the US Department of Justice.

'Not even heard of Louis Berger'

Former Congress Minister Churchill Alemao has denied involvement in the bribery scandal related to US firm Louis Berger, while the Congress earlier yesterday demanded filing of an FIR against those linked to the case.

Alemao, who was PWD Minister in 2009 when the alleged bribery took place, claimed he had not even heard of the company (Louis Berger).

"I have no role to play in the entire episode (award of contract). The tenders were decided by the engineers (of PWD Department)," said Alemao, who quit Congress after 2014 Lok Sabha election.

Opposition Congress on Tuesday asked the Goa government to file an FIR against all those allegedly involved in the scandal, including then ministers, within 48 hours.

"We demand that an FIR be filed within 48 hours in JAICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) scam. All (then) ministers and others involved in the case should be booked," Goa Congress spokesman Sunil Kawathankar told reporters here after submitting a letter in this regard to Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.

Louis Berger was consultant to JAICA for the projects.

"We appeal to the state government to write to US Department of Justice seeking name of the minister who was allegedly bribed by Louis Berger for securing contract under JICA," Kawthankar said.

"The BJP-led government, rather than politicising the issue and allowing culprits to go scot-free, should act with seriousness," he said.

Two days ago, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, a former Goa CM, hinted that two former ministers might be involved in the alleged bribery case.

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