The Goa government has asked state chief secretary Dharmendra Sharma to initiate inquiry into alleged bribes paid to state officials by the US-based firm CDM Smith. “The Public Works Department handed over all the files pertaining to the communication between them and the company to the chief secretary last evening,” PWD minister Sudin Dhavalikar said, speaking to reporters at Vasco on Saturday.
Sharma will submit inquiry report to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who will then decide whether the case should be handed over to the state vigilance department, he said. “We had given them contract to prepare master plan for sewerage system. After we read the news (about bribery allegations), I asked the PWD to submit the entire file… which was handed over to the chief secretary as he is (also) a PWD secretary,” Dhavalikar said. The state government had terminated CDM Smith’s contract, he added.
Dhavalikar was in Vasco for an event where NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind met state legislators to seek their support. Union minister Nitin Gadkari, who was also there, told reporters that the National Highway Authority of India was looking into all aspects of the matter. “I have ordered an inquiry. The NHAI is conducting inquiry into all aspects. I can conduct inquiry about my own department. About the state-specific allegations, the inquiry will be conducted by the state government,” Gadkari said.
The US Justice Department recently said that its probe revealed that the Boston-based CDM Smith paid $1.18 million to government officials in India. The firm allegedly paid bribes to unidentified officials of the NHAI between 2011 and 2015 to secure highway construction supervision and design contracts, and to some officials in Goa for a water project in the state, the US Justice Department had said.