Panaji: The ghost of Louis Berger kickbacks comes back to haunt former Chief Minister of Goa Digambar Kamat and former Public Works Department (PWD) Minister, Churchill Alemao. The Special Sessions Court at Mapusa today framed charges against the political leaders in the Louis Berger bribery case.
Kamat and Alemao have pleaded ‘Not Guilty’ to the charges and will now face trial.
Speaking to GoaChronicle, Kamat, stated that he was asked to respond to the charges and he told the Special Sessions Court that he was not guilty and that he was innocent.
Both Kamat and Alemao faced allegations that US-based firm Louis Berge had bribed Indian official with several crores of rupees to win two major water development projects in Goa. The project was valued at Rs 1000 crore, funded by Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) and approved by the Kamat-led Congress government. The project was for augmenting water supply in South Goa and laying sewerage lines in the state’s major cities.
Allegations were leveled that the Goa ministers had received bribes to the tune of Rs 1.95 crores to grant contracts for JICA-funded project in Goa. Kamat received Rs 1.2 crore and Churchill Alemao reportedly received Rs 75 lakhs.
In 2018, the Enforcement Directorate has filed a ‘charge-sheet’ before the special court constituted under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Kamat and Churchill Alemao in connection with an alleged money laundering case.
In the charge sheet the directorate has pleaded to order the confiscation of proceeds of crime/properties (worth Rs 1.95 crore) provisionally attached by the ED in March 2017 in accordance with the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.