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Centre moves US for details in Louis Berger scam

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, Aug 11 - The Government of India has taken serious note of the Louis Berger scam and efforts to bring the details of it from the government of United States of America have already started. Meanwhile, it has now come to light that the procedures followed in selection of contractors in case of World Bank and Asian Development Bank funded-projects were not followed in case of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-funded projects.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the Government of India has written to the Indian Ambassador in the United States to get in touch with the Department of Justice to get the details of the scam involving Louis Berger in India. The Department of Justice of the United States already probed all the foreign dealings of Louis Berger during the period 1998-2010. The Government of India is now trying to get all the details of the dealings in India from the US government so that a proper investigation can be carried out to nail those who received bribes from the American company.

It may be mentioned that Louis Berger admitted to paying bribes in four countries including Goa and Assam in India to get contracts. In Assam, the American company reportedly paid bribes to get contract as a consultant in the Greater Guwahati Water Supply Project being implemented by the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority with funds from the JICA.

Sources also said that the procedures for selection of contracts in the water supply scheme were different from those of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank-funded projects. In case of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank-funded projects, the selection of contractors is done on the basis of quality and cost. Both the technical qualification of the contractors and financial bids are checked in such cases. Sixty to 70 per cent of the marks are given on technical qualification and the rest on financial bids and there is no question of negotiation with the contractors during the process of selection.

But in case of the JICA-funded project, such a procedure was not mandatory and only �quality-based� selection of contractors was carried out. After the technical assessment of the bidders, the cost was negotiated and in such a case, the scope of corruption cannot be ruled out. Though the process was cleared by the JICA, the possibility of payment of bribe in the process of cost negotiation cannot be ruled out and only a thorough investigation can find out the truth.

Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary SC Das, who was asked to conduct the preliminary investigation, has already submitted his report. It is learnt that in his report, Das suggested a probe by a competent investigating agency, following which Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi ordered a probe by the Criminal Investigation Department of the Assam Police.

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Centre moves US for details in Louis Berger scam

GUWAHATI, Aug 11 - The Government of India has taken serious note of the Louis Berger scam and efforts to bring the details of it from the government of United States of America have already started. Meanwhile, it has now come to light that the procedures followed in selection of contractors in case of World Bank and Asian Development Bank funded-projects were not followed in case of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-funded projects.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the Government of India has written to the Indian Ambassador in the United States to get in touch with the Department of Justice to get the details of the scam involving Louis Berger in India. The Department of Justice of the United States already probed all the foreign dealings of Louis Berger during the period 1998-2010. The Government of India is now trying to get all the details of the dealings in India from the US government so that a proper investigation can be carried out to nail those who received bribes from the American company.

It may be mentioned that Louis Berger admitted to paying bribes in four countries including Goa and Assam in India to get contracts. In Assam, the American company reportedly paid bribes to get contract as a consultant in the Greater Guwahati Water Supply Project being implemented by the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority with funds from the JICA.

Sources also said that the procedures for selection of contracts in the water supply scheme were different from those of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank-funded projects. In case of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank-funded projects, the selection of contractors is done on the basis of quality and cost. Both the technical qualification of the contractors and financial bids are checked in such cases. Sixty to 70 per cent of the marks are given on technical qualification and the rest on financial bids and there is no question of negotiation with the contractors during the process of selection.

But in case of the JICA-funded project, such a procedure was not mandatory and only �quality-based� selection of contractors was carried out. After the technical assessment of the bidders, the cost was negotiated and in such a case, the scope of corruption cannot be ruled out. Though the process was cleared by the JICA, the possibility of payment of bribe in the process of cost negotiation cannot be ruled out and only a thorough investigation can find out the truth.

Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary SC Das, who was asked to conduct the preliminary investigation, has already submitted his report. It is learnt that in his report, Das suggested a probe by a competent investigating agency, following which Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi ordered a probe by the Criminal Investigation Department of the Assam Police.