Updated: August 20, 2015 7:44:31 pm
In what could spell out fresh trouble for former Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat embroiled in the multi-crore Louis Berger bribery scam, Enforcement Directorate and the Goa Crime branch carried out raids at five different locations in Panjim and nearby areas in connection with the case.
According to source, the raid commenced at 6 am on Thursday and are expected to be carried out throughout the day.
The search party has also raided the residences and offices of Kamat’s close friends and business associates. The raids come a day after Kamat was granted anticipatory bail by a lower court in Goa. The crime branch, however, has challenged the order in the High Court. Sources say the evidence collected during the searches could be used by the Goa police while challenging the order.
On August 7, the Enforcement Directorate had registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) which is equivalent to an FIR registered under the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure. The ECIR was registered against ‘unknown ministers’ under the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) Act, after the police received the FIR registered by the Goa police.
On July 21, the Crime Branch had registered an FIR against unknown ministers in the Congress government in Goa in 2010 and company officials, and commenced its probe. The Goa Police on August 6, arrested former Goa PWD Minister, Churchill Alemao for his alleged involvement in the Louis Berger bribery case.
The Goa Crime Branch has claimed to have unearthed the money trail which involves a Goa-based hawala operator. On July 21, the Crime Branch registered an FIR against unknown ministers in the 2010 Goa government and company officials and commenced its probe. Alemao is the third arrest in the case.
Both Alemao and Kamat have denied all allegations against them.
The Louis Berger Group bribery case came to light when the company admitted to violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and agreed to pay a penalty of $17.1 million to resolve charges that it bribed foreign officials before the US Justice Department in July.
In India, the company is accused of bribing officials to win two major water projects in Goa and Guwahati. The beneficiaries of the $9,76,630 paid for the Goa project in August 2010 allegedly included a minister.
The Louis Berger Group company was part of a consultancy consortium with two Japanese firms and an Indian partner appointed to manage the $ 311 million Goa water supply and sewerage project awarded in 2009.
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