The declared wealth of former Goa Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Churchill Alemao increased by Rs 6.07 crore in the five years he was in power. The increase, discovered by Business Standard by comparing Alemao's asset declarations with the Election Commission of India (ECI) before 2007 and 2012 Assembly elections, is coincidentally close to the rupee value of the sum of $976,630 (Rs 6.15 crore today) allegedly paid as bribe by US-based consultant Louis Berger executives in connection with a Rs 1,030 crore water supply and sewerage project in the state.

According to data available in, Alemao declared assets of Rs 5.61 crore, when he won the Navelim Assembly seat in 2007 elections as a candidate of Save Goa Front (SGF). aka National Election Watch is a database put up by non-profit Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) that collates data filed by candidates with the ECI.

Alemao was one of the two SGF winners in that election. But, in Goa's 40-seat legislature, two seats mean a lot, especially when the Congress, the single-largest party, was short of majority with 16 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had 14 seats. In a clever political move in July 2007, the wily south Goa politician managed to not only to break the Congress party's initial alliance with Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), but also landed the PWD portfolio, which was held by MGP chief Ramkrishna Dhavlikar. Dhavlikar is the PWD minister in the current BJP-led state government.

The loan agreement between India and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the Goa Water Supply and Sewerage project was inked on September 14, 2007, according to documents on JICA website reviewed by Business Standard. In August 2008, SGF merged with the Congress.

In proceedings before US courts, Louis Berger has agreed to pay a fine of $17.1 million to settle charges of bribing officials 'including a minister' a sum of $9,76,630 till August 2010. A report by The Goan newspaper said the consortium that included Louis Berger was paid a consultancy fee of Rs 70 crore or around seven per cent of the project amount.

By the time, Alemao filed his asset declaration for the 2012 assembly elections, which he contested as a Congress candidate, his assets had more than doubled. He had Rs 8.45 crore in movable assets and Rs 3.23 crore-worth immovable assets. Thus, he declared total assets of Rs 11,68,44,991 against Rs 5,61, 60,310 declared in 2007. An increase of Rs 6,06,84,681 or 108 per cent. His liabilities on the other hand, inched up from Rs 80,79,278 to Rs 2,68,14,832. His liabilities thus went up by Rs 1.87 crore or 231 per cent. Net of liabilities, Alemao's asset increase was around Rs 4.2 crore.

When Business Standard asked Alemao about his wealth increase during an interview at his residence, Alemao shot back, saying: "Do you think I will take this commission to increase my own wealth? What I have done for Goa, people of Goa know well."

He then added that he ran a flourishing fishing business, which was his major source of income. "I also own a lot of agricultural land. The value increased many times during this period," Alemao said.

He also vehemently denied charges of bribery and said the BJP leaders' call for probe as "politically motivated".

Two years after he lost the Assembly elections, Alemao contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from the south Goa constituency on a Trinamool Congress (TMC) ticket. In this two-year period, Alemao's liabilities grew more than his assets. His assets stood at Rs 14.98 crore, whereas his liabilities zoomed to Rs 7.25 crore. Thus, his net worth fell from to Rs 7.73 crore from Rs 9 crore over these two years.

Rise in legislators' wealth differs from state to state depending on economic conditions, government budgets and other variables. According to a report based on ADR numbers published in The Times of India in 2013, the wealth of Delhi MLAs, among richest, rose three times between 2008 and 2013. "Sixty-six MLAs who are re-contesting the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections and their average worth has risen from Rs 2.90 crore in 2008 to a massive Rs 10.43 crore this year," the TOI report said.

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