A team of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to arrive in Assam this week in connection with investigation into the multi-crore Luis Berger case.
This will be second visit of a CBI team in the State to investigate into the scam.
Sources on condition of anonymity told Northeast Now on Monday, “A CBI team will arrive in Assam this week to investigate into the Luis Berger case.”
It may be mentioned that the Gauhati High Court had ordered the CBI on September 1, 2017 to take up the multi-crore Louis Berger corruption case on the basis of a PIL (No 85/2015) lodged in the HC by Bhaben Handique, an RTI activist and convener of Swaraj Asom.
As per a directive by the two-member bench of the Gauhati High Court comprising Chief Justice Ajit Singh and Justice Manojit Bhuyan, the CBI took up the case in September last year by filing a 40-page FIR against unknown officials for allegedly bribing the former Congress-led Government to fix the contract.
After filing the case, a CBI team visited Assam in October 12, 2017 and took statements of the petitioners (who filed a case in Dispur PS) and the Government official, who filed a case with the CID regarding the scam.
But since then, there has been no report of any CBI team’s visit to the State in regard to the investigation into case involving the New Jersey-based consultancy firm, Luis Berger.
Talking to this correspondent, RTI activist Handique, who had lodged a PIL with Gauhati High Court in August 2015 seeking CBI probe into the case, expressed his unhappiness at the progress in the case.
“We are unhappy at the slow progress in the Luis Berger case. The CBI took up the case as per a directive of Gauhati High Court last year. A CBI team also visited the State in October, 2017. But after that, we have witnessed no progress in the case,” said Handique.
Handique, who also collected documents in connection with the case from the US Department of Justice and FBI, further claimed, “We also submitted documents, which we had received from the United States Department of Justice and FBI regarding the case, to the CBI through email in June last, but still there has been no progress in the case.”
The Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) had awarded a contract to Louis Berger in 2010 to manage three water supply projects in the city. The water supply projects were funded by Asian Development Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Himanta Biswa Sarma, the then minister for Guwahati Development Department, under which GMDA functions, blame each other for giving the contract to Louis Berger.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, who joined the BJP in 2015 and now the Finance Minister, said the latest Gauhati High Court order regarding the Louis Berger scam did not mention involvement of any minister in the case.
Handique hoped the CBI would rope in big political leaders and top level Government officials, who are involved in the scam, under the ambit of its investigation.
He said, “We hope this time, the CBI team will quiz the top-level Government officials and also big political leaders who were allegedly involved in the scam.”