Louis Berger paid close to $1 million to a minister, disguising them as 'commitment fee', 'counterpart per diem', 'marketing fee' and 'field operations expenses', US authorities have said.
Sources in the Goa Power Works Department have contradicted former PWD Minister Churchill Alemao's claims to NDTV that he wasn't aware of contracts being awarded to US-based construction management firm Louis Berger and that he had never heard of the company.
With Louis Berger admitting that bribes were paid to a Goa minister and officials in 2010, the big question is who is that minister?
It was the PWD department that awarded the contract for a water and sewerage project funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to a consortium which Louis Berger was a part of.
Goa PWD sources told NDTV the then PWD minister signed on approvals for contracts and added that the then PWD minister had to clear approvals as part of procedure.
The Project Director of the Goa Water and Sewerage Project Anand Wachasundar was summoned by the Goa Police Crime Branch and asked to explain who awarded and cleared the contracts and what procedures were followed.
Mr Alemao had said it was the officials who had decided to whom the consultancy contracts were to be awarded. Projects funded by JICA have to have a consultant. "My job is not to award consultancy contracts. I am a minister. That is the job of technical persons," Mr Alemao had told NDTV.
Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had earlier told NDTV,
"Digambar Kamat was Chief Minister and held finance portfolio. Churchill Alemao was PWD Minister then. These two have to find out who accepted the bribe."
Former Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat hit back saying, "Nobody has said anything in detail. Anybody can say anything. It has to be verified first. I am not a person who will make irresponsible statements."
The Rs 1035 crore project was meant to meet Goa's water and sewerage needs till 2025. But with Louis Berger's disclosures it has also led to a political storm with accusations flying thick and fast as the BJP and the Congress take on each other on the issue.