Will get Centre’s help to nail Goa Congress scams: Parrikar

Panaji, Aug 2:

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has promised assistance from the central government to help nail scams of the erstwhile Congress-led coalition government in Goa.

Manohar ParrikarAt a party workers meeting near Panaji late on Saturday, Parrikar also targeted former Congress chief minister Digambar Kamat, who has already been questioned in connection with the $976,630 Louis Berger bribery scam.

“This (Louis Berger scam) is just the tip of the iceberg… Bring out all the Congress scams in the open now… They will be exposed. I guarantee that I will offer whatever help is needed to expose them from the centre, right from the Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax and CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation),” Parrikar said.

Top officials of Louis Berger have already pleaded guilty to a New Jersey District Court to offering bribes of $3.9 million to secure contracts in 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.

Louis Berger was part of a consortium that eventually won a contract to execute a multi-billion dollar water and sewerage project in Goa worth Rs.1,031 crore funded by the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).

Congress legislator Digambar Kamat, who was the chief minister in 2010 has already been questioned, along with former public works department minister Churchill Alemao, who served in Kamat cabinet at the time. Kamat also held the finance ministry at the time.

“It is clearly said (in the US District Court order) that they have paid bribes to Goa ministers. Now there are only two ministers in the zone of consideration. No other ministers are related to this. PWD (minister) is natural, but along with PWD minister there is also the finance (minister) who has to release the money. If he does not release the money, this cannot happen,” Parrikar said.

Specifically targeting Kamat, Parrikar said: “Put him in a corner and ensure that Digambar Kamat is made to suffocate over this scam… The party should ensure that. The government and the law will do its job, but the party workers should convey it to the people effectively.”

Kamat has already denied his role in the scam repeatedly.

“I am firm about what I have been saying from day one. I have done nothing wrong. The JICA file did not come to me,” he has maintained. (IANS)

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