Bribery case:Police conducts searches at ex-Goa CM’s residence

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Goa Police today conducted searches at the residence of former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and in other places in the state in connection with the Louis Berger bribery case. “The searches began at 6 AM and are still continuing,” a senior official of the Crime Branch of Goa Police said. The Crime Branch action came a day after the 61-year- old Congress leader, who had been questioned by the police twice in connection with the case, secured the pre-arrest bail from a district court. The Crime Branch officials were accompanied by sleuths of Enforcement Directorate (ED) which has also registered a case regarding the scandal. According to the police official, the searches were being conducted at four different places in Margao and Panaji towns. Kamat has his residence in Margao while the home of his relative in Panaji was also searched. The investigators are looking for a crucial file which has been missing. The file has notings which were used to award the consultancy to US-based firm Louis Berger for a project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The Crime Branch has named Kamat and former PWD Minister Churchill Alemao among others in the bribery case. The case came to light when Louis Berger admitted to have paid bribe to a Goa minister for consultancy contract for a water project funded by JICA. The police recently slapped an additional charge of

‘causing disappearance of evidence’ against Kamat under section 201 of IPC. Earlier, he was charged under IPC section 120-B (conspiracy) and the Prevention of Corruption Act. Kamat, who was the Chief Minister when the alleged bribe was given in 2010, had termed the allegations against him as politically motivated. Besides Alemao, the police have arrested former Vice President of Louis Berger Satyakam Mohanty, head of JICA-aided project in Goa Anand Wachasunder and alleged hawala dealer Raychand Soni in the case.

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