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Kamat rules out involvement of ministers in US bribery case

Digambar Kamat

Panaji:  Former Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who headed the government during the alleged bribery case involving a US firm in 2009, has ruled out involvement of any of his ministers.

“All the tenders for the JAICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) project were issued as per central public works department norms. There is no intervention of any minister in it,” Kamat told PTI today.

He said the role of any state department comes to the fore only while deciding estimates for the tender.

“Once estimates are drawn there is no possibility of any minister interfering in it,” he said.

The former chief minister said a consortium from Japan was the lowest bidder for this project aiming to revive water and sewerage system in Goa.

“Anyone can allege that he paid money to the minister but there should be proper base to support it,” he said.

Union Minister and former Goa CM Manohar Parrikar had yesterday hinted that two ex-ministers might be involved in the alleged bribery case involving New Jersey-based construction management firm Louis Berger over a water developmental scheme in the state.

Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had earlier said he will demand a CBI inquiry into the allegations.

Louis Berger has been charged with bribing Indian officials for several crores to win two major water developmental projects in Goa and Guwahati.

“Since the work was related to JAICA (Japan International funding project), then PWD minister might be involved, but moreover since it is dealing with the financial approval for the project, there is likelihood that one more minister may be involved,” Parrikar had said addressing BJP workers in Goa’s Margao town.

“The incident happened when Digambar Kamat-led government was in power,” Parrikar had said while refusing to name any minister.

An inquiry by CBI into the entire episode will reveal the truth behind the bribery, he said.

Meanwhile, Parsekar told reporters, “Since it is an international matter, Goa police can’t investigate it. That is why the government has decided to write to Prime Minister and Union Home Minister demanding a CBI inquiry into it. Truth should be revealed to the people.”

“When the contracts were awarded, Congress leader Digambar Kamat was the CM and Churchill Alemao was the Public Works Department Minister. Now it should be revealed which minister took the bribe,” Parsekar had said.

The bribery of USD 976,630 for the project by Louis Berger included payments to a minister, details of which have not been disclosed by the US Department of Justice.

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