Tuesday 03 Aug 2021

Court orders framing charges against Digambar, Churchill

THE GOAN NETWORK | JULY 23, 2021, 12:48 AM IST


A special court in Mapusa on Thursday ordered framing of charges against former chief minister Digambar Kamat and former PWD minister and ex-CM Churchill Alemao in connection with the infamous Louis Berger money laundering case.

The court also directed both the alleged accused Kamat and Alemao to remain present in the court on July 26.

Judge Sherin Paul ordered that the charges be framed against Kamat and Alemao in the complaint filed by the Enforcement Directorate.

Special Public Prosecutor Siddharth Samant appeared on behalf of the ED, while Adv PS Rao and Adv S Sardesai appeared for Kamat and Alemao respectively.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in 2015 against both Kamat and Alemao -- who were ministers in the government in 2010 -- Louis Berger and others.

Kamat along with Alemao and other government officials have been accused of allegedly accepting a $976,630 bribe in 2010 from officials of US-based Louis Berger consultancy firm ostensibly to secure implementation rights of a multi-billion dollar water and sewerage project in Goa worth Rs1,031 crore funded by the Japan International Co-Operation Agency (JICA).

A Congress-led coalition government was in power in the State when the project was cleared in 2010.

According to the crime branch of the Goa police which is investigating the case, Kamat, who is currently on bail, was allegedly paid over Rs1 crore in multiple installments to ensure that Louis Berger got the consultancy rights for the project.

The then director of the JICA funded project Anand Wachasundar, then Louis Berger India head Satyakam Mohanty and an alleged hawala dealer Raichand Soni were also arrested.

In the meanwhile, the Louis Berger bribery case involving former PWD minister Churchill Alemao has been posted on August 12 for hearing of arguments on an application moved by one of the accused under section 319 CrPC.

Public Prosecutor Anuradha Talaulikar appeared on behalf of the state. 


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