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Ed attaches assets of Digambar, Churchill

Moveable, immoveable properties of two political heavyweights seized for alleged involvement in Berger scam

Story: the | goan | 31st March 2017, 04:29 Hrs

In a move that could have profound political implications, the Enforcement Directorate has attached moveable and immoveable properties worth Rs 1.95 crore belonging to Louis Berger bribery scam accused Digambar Kamat and Churchill Alemão.
The properties of Kamat and Alemão were seized for their alleged involvement in Louis Berger Bribery case which was registered against the then ministers in Goa Government and other officials under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
According to the team, Kamat’s properties worth Rs 1.20 crore have been attached which includes a plot of land of Area 4047 Sq Feet situated at Gogol Margão a residential building at Taleigão and fixed deposits of Rs 41.35 lakh were attached.
According to sources in the Enforcement Directorate the sealing of the properties will take place over the next few days after the accused have been informed of the decision.
The officials of the ED have zeroed down on these properties after a scrutiny of the transactions of the accused duo and found that the properties have been bought around the time that the alleged bribes were paid.
Investigations into the assets of the other accused are also underway.
Alemão’s seized assets include eight flats at Fatrade in Varca village which are worth Rs 75 lakh as per the registered Sale value of the year 2009.
It must be remembered that the value of the assets has been drawn up based on affidavits filed by the duo as part of their run up to the elections held earlier this year. The current market value is likely to be much higher.
Kamat himself has declined to offer comments on the development saying that it was “part of the process”.
In July 2015 following admissions of Louis Berger Inc. to violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and agreed to pay a penalty of $17.1 million to resolve charges that it bribed foreign officials, the Crime Branch registered an FIR against unknown ministers in the 2010 government and company officials.
Louis Berger was part of a consultancy consortium, with two Japanese firms and an Indian partner.
The ED began investigations to unearth the financial trail of the proceeds of crime obtained by the accused.
Officials of Louis Berger, Nihon Suido Consultants Company Ltd, Japan, NGS Consultants Company Ltd, Japan, Shah Technical Consultancy Company Ltd, India and other government officials and Hawala operators were examined, which led to laundered assets.
James McClung who was in charge of the company’s India operations, is presently imprisoned in USA. Indian authorities have also sent a letter rogatory to the American investigating authorities seeking evidence in the bribery scandal.