Goa party endorses probe into graft charges against NHAI officials

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Panaji, July 12 (IANS) A minister in the BJP-led coalition government in Goa has endorsed a probe ordered by the state Public Works Department (PWD) Ministry into allegations of graft against some National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials.

As per the charge, a Boston-based consultancy firm paid the NHAI officials a bribe of $1.18 million for facilitation of four contracts, one of which was executed in Goa.

Speaking to reporters in Panaji on Wednesday, Town and Country Planning Minister and Goa Forward president Vijai Sardesai said the PWD Ministry had done the right thing by ordering a probe into the alleged bribes paid by the US-based consultant CDM SMith to officials in Goa.

“We welcome the probe. Let him complete it in ten days and we will see what comes out of it,” Sardesai said.

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The bribery scandal in Goa was discovered after the NHAI earlier this week ordered an inquiry into the allegation that CDM Smith paid $1.18 million as graft to officials in order to get the four contracts.

The consultancy firm, as a matter of self-disclosure, had earlier informed in writing to the central government agency that between two per cent to four per cent of the contract value had been paid to officials, to secure the contract.

PWD Minister Sudin Dhavalikar on Tuesday said he had ordered a probe into the allegations of graft. The PWD, which oversees water supply works in the state, also executes road infrastructure-related works in tandem with the NHAI.

“We will carry out a probe into the allegations. I have asked the PWD Chief Engineer to submit a report within 10 days,” Dhavalikar told reporters.

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