Investigation into Louis Berger scam
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, July 19: Swaraj Adhikar Samgram, Asom (SASA) convener Bhaben Handique smells something fishy in the investigation into Louis Berger scam with the admission of an influential person having to have received US $ 21,420 transferred to his account online. Handique, however, cannot trace the account number of the person receiving the amount.
Handique claims to have received this information from a cell of Stanford Law School of America that conducts research on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Handique did file a PIL in Gauhati High Court on the Louis Berger scam.
Talking to media in the city on Wednesday, Handique said: “In its status report on the investigation into the case in the Gauhati High Court on May 3, 2017 the CID said that they had sent an email to the US Justice Department seeking information on March 23, 2017. Getting no response, the CID had to send a reminder on May 2. The CID also told the court that the US Justice Department had evinced interest in sharing information regarding the investigation of the case by FBI. The US Department did invite the CID through the CBI, Intertiol Police Cooperation Cell (IPCC), New Delhi by sending two letters on September 26 and October 10 in 2016. The US Department also offered to share information through video-tele-conferencing (VTC) with the CID. The CID did send letters to the State Home and Political Departments seeking permission for the team to go to the US for the investigation. The investigation agency also sought technical help from the Director of Technical Division, NIC State Centre on January 1 this year for the VTC. On January 12, the NIC appealed to the CBI and the IPCC to communicate with the US Department for the VTC. On March 2 this year, the IPCC let the US Department know the proposal of the CID for the VTC. The IPCC told the CID that it would take some time.”
Hadique further said: “On my own, I also sought information from the US Department on May 29 this year. On June 8 and 15 this year, the FBI sent me two letters. When the FBI is responsive to a person like me in such a way in the case, there’s no question of the US Department not cooperating with the CID in the case. Smelling a rat on the role being played by the State Home and Political Departments, I sent a letter to the Prime Minister on April 28 this year. The PMO responded to my letter asking the State Home and Political Departments to take immediate actions towards that end. I have to apply through the RTI on June 16 this year just to know what steps have been taken by the State Home and Political Departments on the issue and the note from the PMO. The RTI application is still to be responded to.”
Handique said: “Does the Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal’s claim on zero tolerance to corruption has any truth? Has he made this followed in the State Home or Political Departments or if the letter from the PMO is gathering dust at Dispur at the behest of someone? Instead of arresting some corrupt clerks, engineers, bureaucrats and police officials, why doesn’t the Chief Minister hand over the Louis Berger scam to the CBI?”