A special court here today granted bail to former Goa PWD minister Churchill Alemao and former project director Anand Wachasundar in the Louis Berger pay-off scandal, where the US firm has been charged with bribing Indian officials with several crores of rupees to win two major water developmental projects in Goa and Guwahati.
The Rs 1,031-crore project, funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), was approved when Digamber Kamat government was in power for augmenting water supply in south Goa and laying sewerage lines in the state’s major cities.
After granting bail, special judge B P Deshpande directed the duo to furnish a bail bond of Rs 5 lakh and surety of a like amount. They have also been directed to surrender their passports within two days and not to leave the country without the permission of the court.
The court also directed them not to offer an inducement or threat to any of the witnesses or persons connected with the case.
While Alemao was arrested on August 5 and has been in jail since then, Wachasundar was arrested in the last week of July after Goa Police crime branch began its investigation in the case.
The Goa Police has been probing the involvement of several government officials as well as politicians and the US company officials in the multi-crore bribery scandal.
The charge sheet, filed under the Prevention of the Corruption Act, names Alemao, Berger vice-president Satyakam Mohanty, Raychand Soni (hawala operator), Wachasundar, Louis Berger employee James McClung and incumbent Margao Municipal
chairperson Arthur D’Silva besides the New Jersey-based consultancy firm.
Kamat, also been accused of accepting bribes, was given anticipatory bail by the district court in August. The Crime Branch has challenged his bail before Bombay High Court at Goa seeking its cancellation.