Louis Berger bribery case: First arrest in Goa

Panaji, July 27 (IANS) The Goa Police Crime Branch on Monday arrested Anand Wachasundar, the former project director of the multi-billion-dollar water and sewerage management system linked to the Louis Berger international bribery scandal.

Wachasundar, a former principal chief engineer of the Public Works Department, was terminated last week after he was questioned by the Crime Branch at the time of filing of the first information report.

A Crime Branch official confirmed the arrest on Monday, even as Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar hinted at a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the bribery scam in which a Goa minister and other officials are allegedly linked.

“He (Wachasundar) has been arrested under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code,” the official said.

Top officials of Louis Berger have already pleaded guilty to a New Jersey court to offering bribes of $3.9 million to secure contracts in Asian countries such as India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kuwait.

While the settlement announced by the US Justice Department did not identify the politicians and officials who were offered bribes, documents revealed that $976,630 was paid in bribes during 2009-2010 to a Goa minister and other officials.

Louis Berger was part of a consortium that eventually won a contract to execute a multi-billion-dollar water and sewerage project in Goa funded by the Japan International Co-Operation Agency (JICA), which was cleared in 2010 by the Congress-led coalition government.

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