In more trouble for Congress MP Karti Chidambaram, the ED registered a case against him under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. This is based on the CBI FIR pertaining to the Chinese visa scam. This development assumes significance as he is set to appear before the central agency at its headquarters on Wednesday after returning to India. A day earlier, he released a public statement denying all allegations. His Chartered Accountant and co-accused Bhaskararaman is already in CBI custody.
#BREAKING | Fresh PMLA case filed against Karti Chidambaram; money-laundering charges levelled against Karti and Bhaskaraman
Tune in here – https://t.co/hBNv8QJ045 pic.twitter.com/iguF51UM9p — Republic (@republic) May 25, 2022
CBI case against Karti Chidambaram
Under the scanner of the investigative agencies in the INX Media and the Aircel Maxis scam, Karti Chidambaram was slapped with a new FIR by the CBI. Along with him, Bhaskararaman, Talwandi Sabo Power Limited, its associate Vikas Makharia, Bell Tools Limited and unknown public servants and private persons were booked under Section 120B r/w Section 477A of the IPC and Sections 8,9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. It has been alleged that the aforesaid Chinese visa scam took place during the UPA regime for the Talwandi Sabo Power Project in July-August 2011.
While Talwandi Sabo Power Limited (TSPL)- a subsidiary of Vedanta was responsible for establishing a 1980 MW Thermal Power Plant at Mansa in Punjab, it outsourced the construction to a Chinese firm Shandong Electric Power Construction Corporation (SEPCO). As the power plant construction was running behind schedule, TPSL allegedly wanted more Chinese professionals at the site to avoid penal action even as there was a ceiling for allowing work permits for foreign nationals. The CBI contended that Makharia approached the Sivaganga MP’s CA for the aforesaid purpose.
Moreover, it alleged that they devised a way to circumvent the visa limit by granting permission to re-use 263 project visas allotted to the Chinese company’s officials. After TSPL issued a letter to the MHA in this regard, it received approval within a month. At that juncture, P Chidambaram was a Minister in the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government and handled the Home portfolio. The central agency claimed that the bribe of Rs.50 lakh was routed from TSPL to Bhaskararaman through Bell Tools Limited as payment of false invoice raised for consultancy and out of pocket expenses for Chinese visa related works.
However, it pointed out that the aforesaid Mumbai-based company was only into the business of manufacturing industrial knives. On May 17, the CBI raided premises linked with the Sivaganga MP and his father P Chidambaram in connection with this case. While Congress has alleged political vendetta, BJP linked the alleged Chinese visa scam to the MoU signed between Congress and CPC (Communist Party of China) in 2008.