A day after Goa Crime Branch charge-sheeted former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat in the Louis Berger bribery scam, the veteran Congress leader on Friday denied any involvement in the case and alleged that he was being targeted due to political vendetta. “From day one I have been saying that I have no connection in this matter of Louis Berger (bribery scam). This is a political vendetta against me,” Kamat said. Crime Branch had named him as the “prime conspirator” in the 1000-page charge-sheet filed before a special court on Thursday.
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The US-based firm was a consultant for water augmentation and sewerage pipeline laying project in Goa and Guwahati funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency. The scam allegedly took place in 2010 when Kamat was the Goa chief minister. The Crime Branch has claimed that they tracked the trail of the money that was allegedly paid to Kamat, Alemao and others.
“Any charges can be put against anyone but they have to prove it in the court,” Kamat said. “Citizens of Goa are watching this political vendetta against me and Madgaonkars (people from Margao constituency) will answer to it in the 2017 assembly elections,” he said. Kamat is a Congress legislator from South Goa’s Margao constituency.
“I have full trust and faith in the Almighty and in the judiciary. I leave it to both of them,” he commented… Apart from Kamat, Crime Branch has also charged Louis Berger official James McClung, former India Vice President of the company Satyakam Mohanty, head of JICA-aided project in
Goa Anand Wachasunder, Hawala dealer Raychand Soni, former Margao municipal council chairperson Arthur D’Silva and former Goa Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao in the case.
The accused have been charged under section 201 of IPC (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender), 120B of the IPC (criminal conspiracy) and sections 7,8 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Crime Branch had filed an FIR against unknown ministers from the 2010 Goa government on July 21, 2015. The alleged bribery had come to light when Louis Berger company admitted to the violations under US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and agreed to pay a penalty of USD 17.1 million to resolve the charge that it had bribed foreign officials.