Karti Chidambaram took Rs 50L bribe through close aide in Chinese visa case: ED

Karti Chidambaram Allegedly Took Rs 50L Bribe in Chinese Visa Case: ED
Karti Chidambaram
Karti Chidambaram

New Delhi | The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday alleged that Congress MP Karti Chidambaram took a Rs 50 lakh bribe through a close aide for getting sanction of the Union home ministry for reuse of visas for Chinese personnel by a company that was establishing a power plant in Punjab.

It claimed that this alleged bribe was pumped into a company, where Karti Chidambaram was a director and had control, through a "fictitious" cash transaction.

Karti Chidambaram, 52, is a Lok Sabha MP from Sivaganga seat in Tamil Nadu and the agency has recorded his statement in the case multiple times.

The federal agency made these charges in a charge sheet filed against Karti Chidambaram, a company alleged to be promoted by him-- Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited--, his alleged close aide and accountant S Bhaskararaman, the company where Chinese workers were deployed--Talwandi Sabo Power Limited and others.

The special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Delhi took cognisance of the prosecution complaint on March 19. It has summoned all the accused listed in the charge sheet, including Karti Chidambaram, to appear before it on April 15.

The other accused include Padam Dugar, Vikas Makharia, Mansoor Siddiqi and Dugar Housing Ltd.

Probe found that "Karti P Chidambaram took illegal gratification of Rs 50 lakh through his close aide S Bhaskararaman for getting the approval for reuse of Chinese VISAs by the company named Talwandi Sabo Power Limited, which was establishing a power project at Mansa in Punjab." "Officials of the company approached Karti P Chidambaram for getting the approval for reuse of VISAs from the Ministry of Home Affairs wherein his father was Home Minister (senior Congress leader P Chidambaram)," it alleged in a statement.

The purported modus operandi adopted in the case was that the company paid Rs 50 lakh through cheque to an entry operator in the garb of fictitious services, it claimed.

"The entry operator in turn paid Rs 50 lakh cash to S Bhaskararaman, a close associate of Karti Chidambaram and the latter subsequently invested this cash of Rs 50 lakh in Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited, a company controlled by Karti P Chidambaram," the agency alleged.

The ED claimed that the value of Rs 50 lakh so invested increased to Rs 1.59 crore over a period of time which is the "proceeds of crime" as per provisions of the PMLA.

The MP earlier has said that the ED probe in this case was a "fishing and roving" enquiry and that he has submitted all documents to the agency. He had called the case "most bogus", asserting he was "certain that he never facilitated even a single Chinese national in their visa process, let alone 250." He had said this case was an attempt to target his father P Chidambaram through him.

The money laundering case of the ED stems from a CBI FIR.

The probe pertains to allegations of Rs 50 lakh being paid as kickbacks to Karti Chidambaram and S Bhaskararaman by a top executive of Vedanta group company Talwandi Sabo Power Ltd. (TSPL), according to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) FIR.

According to the CBI, the work for setting up the power project was being executed by a Chinese company and was running behind schedule.

A TSPL executive had sought re-issuance of project visas for 263 Chinese workers for which Rs 50 lakh allegedly exchanged hands, according to the CBI FIR.

The CBI had last year raided the premises of the Chidamabram family and arrested Bhaskararaman even as Karti Chidambaram was questioned by it.

This is the third money laundering probe against Karti Chidambaram with the INX Media and Aircel-Maxis cases being probed by the ED for some years now.

Karti Chidambaram has been charge sheeted in these two cases by the agency in the past

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