Wednesday 22 May 2024

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Digambar 'free' to canvass for Margao civil poll; HC upholds his bail

 

Former chief minister and Margao MLA Digambar Kamat can now freely canvass for Margao municipal election. The high court has upheld the lower court order, granting him anticipatory bail. He is now a free bird.

Goa police wanted to arrest Kamat in the Louis Berger bribery case, making him one of the main conspirators.

But the crime branch has failed for the second time, once in the CBI court and now in the Bombay high court at Goa, to get him into custody.

The single bench of Justice C V Bhadang                dismissed the petition filed by the crime branch, challenging the CBI court order granting anticipatory bail to the former CM on 19 August.

In order to arrest the former CM, the crime branch had made mention of Kamat only as a suspect in its first chargesheet filed on 28 September.

The chargesheet helped Alemao to get out of the jail, but did not help the crime branch to get Kamat in.

Kamat had moved for anticipatory bail on 5 August while former PWD minister Churchill Alemao was arrested the same night.

After prolonged hearing, the CBI court had granted him anticipatory bail on 19 August while Alemao was transferred from police custody to judicial custody.

The crime branch had immediately moved to the high court, challenging the order.

However, the whole hearing had to be started afresh as Justice K L Wadane suddenly withdrew from hearing the case, on 29 September, after seven-day long hearing since 21 August.

 

The hearing afresh had begun before a fresh bench of a single judge Justice Bhadang from 1 October, which concluded on 13 October.

Meanwhile, Alemao, co-conspirator along with Kamat with similar charges, was released on 12 October, after spending 68 days in the custody.

Details of the order would be available later in the evening.

BACKGROUND

Kamat, the Margao MLA and Alemao, who lost 2012 election, were indicted in the Louis Berger bribery case by filing a FIR on 21 July.

Since then, crime branch of Goa police arrested five persons, including Alemao but did not succeed in taking Kamat into custody.

Both the Congress heavyweights are charged of taking huge amount of bribes, on more than two occasions, from Louis Berger International Inc, a US-based consultancy firm.

The firm is executing a water supply and sewerage project worth Rs 1031 crore, financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency ( JICA).

The bribery case came to light when James McClung, Asia head of Louis Berger, admitted before the Department of Justice in New Jersey of having paid total bribe of Rs six crore to ‘a’ minister and government officials for getting the award of work.   


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Shame on you CB. this case is closing....

 
John W DSouza , Margoa Goa

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