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Water project bribery case: Louis Berger assures cooperation
Guwahati, Oct 10: Louis Berger, the US-based consultancy firm which had allegedly bribed unnamed Assam government officials to secure water consultancy projects, today said it would cooperate with the Indian officials in probing the case.
The issue had come to light in 2015 after one Bhaben Handique had filed a police case in Guwahati alleging the US firm had paid Rs six crore to Assam officials and politicians to bag the Rs 1,452 crore contract of a water supply project here.
According to a statement issued by the company here, “The company self-reported Assam issues under a comprehensive company-led anti corruption campaign and will continue to cooperate with the Indian officials, just as we did in the US.”
The case was handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department by the then Congress government but Handique went to the Hight Court seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation probe alleging that the state agency was going slow and trying to shield some influential people connected with the case.
The Gauhati High Court had passed an order last month directing the case be handed over to the CBI as the CID has not investigated the case in “right earnest and has been conducting the same in a partisan manner”.
Following the Hight Court’s directive, Louis Berger issued the statement claiming that it was the result of the company’s own internal anti corruption investigations that the company “uncovered improper payments made in 2010 and prior by former managers who we separated from the company”.
“As a US company, we voluntarily reported these issues to the US Department of Justice and supported their investigations, finally resulting in a settlement with the US government in 2015,” the statement said.
As a result of the company’s cooperation, the US government did not pursue prosecution, instead agreed to defer prosecution as long as the company paid a fine and continued to meet the standards of a US government appointed monitor.
“We are also committed to cooperate fully with the Indian authorities in their investigations, just as we did in the US,” the statement added.
“The company has invested more than USD 25 million for over seven years to transform Louis Berger into one of the most ethical companies in India,” it said. -PTI