Louis Berger case: BJP wants three deals in Goa probed

Panaji, July 23 (IANS) The Louis Berger bribery scandal in Goa may not just be related to one corruption deal. The BJP’s state unit now says the New Jersey-based consultancy firm and the then Congress-led government may have been involved in three compromised deals, which should be probed by the CBI.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Bharatiya Janata Party state vice president Wilfred Mesquita said the advice given by Louis Berger in its capacity as a technical consultant for the Mopa greenfield airport project would be reviewed by the state government.

“We want the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe all three projects which were given by the then Congress government to Louis Berger. The consultancy firm is involved in the JICA project, Dona Paula Sea-Link project and the Mopa airport project,” he said.

Top officials of Louis Berger have already pleaded guilty 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, the documents revealed that $976,630 was paid in bribes during 2009-2010 to a Goa minister and other officials.

Former Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat and former public works department minister Churchill Alemao could also come within the ambit of the bribery investigation, sources said. Both Kamat and Alemao have denied the allegation.

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 has paid Rs.6.3 crore by the Congress-led coalition government in 2011-12.

Mesquita claimed that the company was also chosen as a technical consultant for the upcoming Mopa airport and for conducting a feasibility study of the Dona Paula-Mormugao sea link at the cost of Rs.14 crore and Rs.8 crore, respectively.

“All these deals need probing…,” Mesquita said.

The BJP leader said the Goa government would vet advice given by the consultancy firm vis-a-vis the ongoing greenfield airport project.

“This government is also in a position to review whatever advice they give,” he said.

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