CBI Begins Probe into Louis Berger Case

CBI questions three persons--Bhaben Handique, Abdul Wahid and Jayanta Gogoi-- at its office in Guwahati

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday began its investigation into the Louis Berger bribery scandal following a directive from Gauhati High Court.

As part of the probe, the CBI questioned three persons--Bhaben Handique, Abdul Wahid and Jayanta Gogoi--at its office in the city. The trio had filed a PIL with the Gauhati High Court alleging financial irregularities and seeking a directive from the court for conducting a thorough probe into the matter.

Though both the CBI and the three petitioners kept mum on the Thursday's proceedings, sources said the trio was asked the source of their information, to which the latter reportedly replied that these were based on the US court proceedings and judgment.

A CBI team led by Inspector Avnish Kumar had arrived in the city on Wednesday for probing the alleged scam.

A CBI team led by Inspector Avnish Kumar had arrived in the city on Wednesday for probing the alleged scam.

The country's premier investigating agency took over the probe into the alleged scam following a Gauhati High Court order in this regard on September 2 last after the court observed that the probe being conducted by the State's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was in a "partisan manner". 
CBI office in Guwahati
Image: CBI office in Guwahati


The case relates to awarding of water management projects in Assam and Goa. The US-based Louis Berger is alleged to have paid bribes to bag the contracts. The US Department of Justice under Foreign Corrupt Practices Act filed a lawsuit against the New Jersey-based company in 2015.

Following this, an FIR was filed by Bhaben Handique, Abdul Wahid and Jayanta Gogoi at Dispur police station alleging that Louis Berger had paid Rs 6 crore to officials and politicians to bag a Rs 1,452-crore water supply project in Guwahati.

The case was handed over to the CID, but the trio went to the high court seeking a CBI probe, alleging that the CID was trying to shield "influential" people involved in the case.

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