Goa PWD Minister Sudin Dhavalikar on Thursday said he has ordered an inquiry to find out if any state government official took “bribe” from the US-based CDM Smith Inc. for highway construction contract. “I have asked for an inquiry to be conducted whether any bribe has been accepted by officials in Goa. The report would be submitted within 10 days,” Dhavalikar told reporters. Goa Public Works Department (PWD) principal chief engineer Uttam Parsekar has been asked to conduct the inquiry and submit the report to the minister.
Union Road Transport, Shipping and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday had promised strict action against anyone found guilty in the case. The road transport and highways ministry governs the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) whose unidentified officials are said to have been paid bribe by the US firm between 2011 and 2015 to secure highway construction supervision and design contracts and the water project contract in Goa.
The Criminal Division of the US Justice Department had recently said that the US company, through its employees and agents, and those of its wholly-owned subsidiary in India (CDM India), paid approximately USD 1.18 million (about Rs 6.7 crore) in bribes to government officials in India, resulting in approximately USD four million in net profit.
Between 2011 and 2015, employees of CDM Smith’s division responsible for India operations and CDM India illegally paid bribes to NHAI officials in order to receive contracts from them, the Justice Department said in the letter to CDM Smith. In addition, the CDM Smith’s division responsible for India and CDM India paid USD 25,000 to local officials in Goa in relation to a water project contract, it said.
Gadkari had on Wednesday said the alleged bribes were paid when the previous UPA government was in power and he ordered a probe immediately after the allegations came to light.