Louis Berger bribery: Former Goa minister Churchill Alemao arrested

Panaji: Arrested in connection with the Louis Berger bribery case, former Goa Public Works Department minister Churchill Alemao today said he was innocent and arrested as part of a "political game".

Alemao was last night detained from Agassaim village in south Goa at 10.30 PM and later put under arrest around midnight by the Goa Crime Branch police. "I am happy. They have arrested me. This is a political game. I have not done anything wrong," Alemao told PTI while being taken for medical examination during the wee hours today.

"Why should I go for anticipatory bail. I am very innocent. I have not done anything wrong," said Alemao when asked why he didn't move anticipatory bail plea. Superintendent of Police (Crime Branch), Kartik Kashyap, confirmed the arrest, but refused to divulge any details.

A team of crime branch officials had gone to arrest Alemao at his residence at Varca in south Goa. "But Alemao was at Agassaim village for a private function from where he was picked up. After initial questioning at crime branch office, he was placed under arrest," a senior official said on the condition of anonymity.

He has been arrested under various sections of prevention of corruption act and 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code, a senior police official said. Along with former Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat, Alemao has been questioned by Crime branch in connection with the Louis Berger bribery case in past.

Alemao was state PWD minister when officials of the US-based company Louis Berger paid bribe to win consultancy for water augmentation and sewerage pipeline project under Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). "This is politically motivated case.

When it comes to politicians all the books of law are kept on the shelf," said Mike Mehta, lawyer for Alemao who had come to meet him at crime branch office during wee hours. "He could have gone for anticipatory bail but he refused to go for it. He wanted to face the investigators," said Mehta.

Alemao was taken for a medical check up at Goa medical college and hospital during wee hours and was later sent to police lock up. "Alemao was reluctant to go for medical examination due to which it was delayed by almost three hours," said a crime branch official. He would be produced before the local court later today.

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