PANAJI: In the fourth arrest in the Louis Berger bribery scam probe, Goa police today apprehended an alleged hawala operator involved in transferring money even as a court extended till August 12 the interim protection from arrest for former chief minister Digambar Kamat.
Dubai-based Raychand Soni was arrested here after his statement was recorded before a judicial magistrate, Superintendent of Police (CB) Kartik Kashyap said, but declined to divulge further details.
Another senior police officer, however, alleged that Soni was involved in transferring the money through hawala means within the country.
"During the interrogation we had managed to track the route through which the money was brought in India and then how it was circulated," the officer said.
Soni was being questioned by crime branch for the last few days along with another hawala operator, he added.
In a relief to Kamat, who headed the previous Congress ministry when the pay-off for securing consultancy for a major water project allegedly took place, District Judge B P Deshpande extended the interim protection from arrest till August 12 after the Crime Branch sought more time to respond to his anticipatory bail plea.
Former Public Works Minister Churchil Alemao was arrested and remanded in the case yesterday.
The 61-year-old Congress leader had moved the court for anticipatory bail on August 4, fearing arrest after being questioned twice by Crime Branch in connection with the case. Apart from Alemao, former director of JICA-aided project for Goa Anand Wachasunder and Louis Berger's ex-vice president Berger Satyakam Mohanty have been arrested in connection with the case.
The Congress's Goa unit accused the Crime Branch of "acting selectively" and demanded that the case be handed over to CBI and the renegotiation of works under JICA-aided project during BJP's rule should also be probed.
"The inquiry should be handed over to Central Bureau of Investigation. The entire work right from sanctioning of JICA work to its execution in each of the constituencies should be probed," Goa Congress spokesman Agnelo Fernandes told PTI.