In another development in the Karti Chidambaram case, S Bhaskar Raman was finally arrested following extensive questioning.
The CBI raided Congress MP Karti Chidambaram’s home and offices on suspicion of bribery for visas early on Tuesday. Seven locations associated with Karti Chidambaram – the son of former Union Minister P Chidambaram – and his friends were searched in Chennai, Mumbai, Odisha and Delhi. The investigating agency opened a new case against Karti Chidambaram, accusing him of accepting a bribe of Rs 50 lakh to expedite the visas of 263 Chinese citizens for a power project in Punjab between 2010 and 2014. He is referred to as “Accused No 2”
On Tuesday, the CBI charged five people: Karti P Chidambaram, S Bhaskar Raman, Vikas Makharia (representing a Mansa (Punjab)-based private company), M/s Talwandi Sabo Power Limited, Mansa (Punjab), M/s Bell Tools Limited, Mumbai (Maharashtra), and unknown public servants and private individuals.
It is claimed that a private firm based in Mansa was in the process of creating a 1980 MW thermal power plant, and that the plant’s construction was outsourced to a Chinese company.
It was also claimed that the project was running behind schedule. “To avoid penalties for the delay, the said Mansa private company was trying to bring more and more Chinese persons/professionals for their site at Mansa and required Project VISAs above and beyond the ceiling imposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs,” the investigation agency said in an official release.
“It has also been alleged that the payment of said bribe was routed from Mansa based private company to said private person of Chennai and his close associate/ frontman through a Mumbai based company as payment of false invoice raised for consultancy and out of pocket expenses for Chinese VISAs related works, whereas the private company based in Mumbai was never in any kind of work relating to VISAs but was in an entirely different business of industrial knives,” the CBI note observed.