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Louis Berger bribery scandal(PTI)

The special public prosecutor representing the state in Louis Berger bribery scandal in Goa has decided to withdraw from appearing in the case.

In a letter written to Superintendent of Police (Crime Branch), Special Public Prosecutor Rajiv Gomes noted that a complaint of dual nationality registered against him with Margao police has been transferred to Crime Branch, which appointed him as SPP in the Louis Berger case.

“It has been brought to my notice yesterday that crime number 31/6 of Margao Town police station registered against me on false allegations of having acquired Portuguese nationality has been recently transferred to the Crime Branch for investigation,” Gomes said in a letter dated April 14.

“I have always demanded that a fair, just and expeditious investigation be carried out in the said case registered against me so that the truth surfaces at the earliest,” he said.

“Hence pending investigation in conformity to the ethical standards of my profession and in order to facilitate a fair and just investigation, as well as to dispel any element of suspicion in the investigation due to my status as a Special Public Prosecutor of Crime Branch, I find it desirable that I immediately withdraw my appearance in crime number 93/15 of crime branch police station special case State v Churchill Alemao and Others,” he further said.

Gomes had appeared for the state to oppose the anticipatory bail plea filed by former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat in August last year and also to oppose the bail petitions of others accused, including former PWD Minister Churchill Alemao, in the Louis Berger bribery case.

Last year, the Crime Branch had registered an FIR against Kamat, Alemao and others in connection with the case of alleged payment of bribe by officials of Louis Berger, a US-based firm, to an Indian minister to win consultancy for a water augmentation and sewerage project funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Goa.

Alemao, who was PWD minister in the Kamat government, and three others, including former vice-president of Louis Berger Satyakam Mohanty, head of JICA-aided project in Goa Anand Wachasunder and alleged hawala dealer Raychand Soni were then arrested in connection with the case.

Kamat had got anticipatory bail from a trial court. The Goa bench of Bombay High Court had also upheld the order of the trial court that granted him anticipatory bail.

The 61-year-old Congress leader was heading the state between 2007-2012 when the New Jersey-based consultancy firm allegedly paid the bribes.


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