Bribery scam: Kamat is a habitual offender, says Goa Police

Last Updated 08 August 2015, 09:51 IST

Describing former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat as a "habitual offender involved in corrupt practices", the Goa Crime Branch has alleged before a court here that he "actively participated" in the conspiracy and was among the beneficiaries in Louis Berger bribery case.

The Crime Branch, in its reply before the district court last evening to an anticipatory bail plea of the 61-year-old leader, alleged that Kamat withheld the project files till he was paid the bribe money and sought his custodial interrogation.

Earlier yesterday, in a relief to Kamat, the court had extended till August 12 his interim protection from arrest in the bribery case after the Crime Branch sought more time to respond to his plea.

The Crime Branch, however, submitted the reply later in the day in which it said Kamat had "tarnished the image of India as well as Goa" with his actions.

It said, "The accused applicant is also implicated in the mining scam by Shah Commission report and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for illegalities committed in the field of mining industry in Goa. This shows that he is a habitual offender involved in corrupt practices."

The veteran had moved the court for anticipatory bail on August 4, fearing arrest after being questioned twice by Crime Branch in connection with the case.

Kamat was heading the Congress government when the pay-off scandal for securing consultancy for the JICA water project in Goa allegedly took place in 2010.

"The motive of both the former ministers (Kamat and former PWD Minister Churchill Alemao) in 2010 to keep on hold the file pertaining to JICA project was to send feelers to the concerned consortium the urge for monetary benefits for awarding the consultancy work," the reply says quoting various statements taken during the investigation.

"Thereafter (Anand) Wachasunder (former JICA Goa director) conveyed the message to the consortium (Louis Berger) to fulfil the commitment made to the ministers and the bribe was paid to Kamat," the Crime Branch said.

"He (Kamat) has actively participated in the conspiracy and was one of the beneficiaries of the transaction of payments of bribes but has been withholding with himself the same by not co-operating with the investigation," Crime Branch said.

The investigators in their submission to the court in the past had claimed that Alemao received Rs 40-50 lakh once while Kamat received Rs 40-50 lakh twice.

The scandal involves the New Jersey-based consultancy firm allegedly doling out bribes to win consultancy for a water project in Goa under the JICA funding.

Yesterday, Goa Police apprehended an alleged hawala operator Raychand Soni, taking the number of arrests in the scam to four. Crime Branch has already arrested three people including former PWD Minister Churchill Alemao and former Louis Berger Vice-President Satyakam Mohanty.

Also, ED filed an FIR relating to money laundering to probe charges of bribing Indian officials for securing the water project. The document names an unspecified number of unknown former ministers and others.

(Published 08 August 2015, 09:51 IST)

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