Chinese Visa Scam: After CBI, ED Knocks Karti’s Doors

| Updated: 25 May, 2022 1:14 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Troubles mounted for Congress leader Karti P Chidambaram with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) registering a fresh case of money laundering against him.

The Member of Parliament is also being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in an alleged visa for bribery case.

According to top ED sources related to the probe, the financial probe agency has registered a case of money laundering against Karti P Chidambaram and others on the basis of the CBI FIR registered earlier this month.

The development comes after the CBI booked Karti, who is also a Lok Sabha MP, and others for allegedly demanding bribery for facilitating visas to Chinese nationals for a power plant project in Punjab.

Besides Karti, the CBI has named his close associate S Bhaskararaman, Mansa-based private company’s representative Vikas Makharia, Talwandi Sabo Power Limited, Bell Tools Limited and unknown public servants and private persons.

The CBI on May 17 also carried out searches at over 10 locations after registering a fresh case against Karti.

As per CBI officials, the fresh case was registered by the federal investigative agency, which is an offshoot of the previous case. It alleged that Karti received a bribe of Rs 50 lakh for felicitating the visas of over 250 Chinese nationals for the Talwandi Sabo Power Plant in Punjab’s Mansa from 2010 to 2014 when P Chidambaram was holding the portfolio of Union Minister of Home Affairs.

Officials said that Talwandi Sabo Power Plant was in the process of establishing a 1980 MW Thermal Power plant at Mansa in Punjab.

The official said that the establishment was outsourced to a Chinese Company called Shandong Electric Power Construction Corp (SEPCO). “The project was running behind schedule so in order to avoid penal action for the delay Talwandi Sabo Power Limited was trying to bring more and more Chinese professionals at the site,” the source said, adding that this needed project visas over and above the ceiling imposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

“So, the company approached Karti Chidambaram through his close associate and they devised a back door way to defeat the purpose of Visa ceiling by granting permission to re-use 263 project Visas allotted to the Chinese company’s officials,” the official said.

The permission for this devious Visa grant to Chinese professionals was approved by Home Ministry in the same month of application, the official said

He further alleged that payment of crores was made to Karti through a false invoice by a company which made industrial knives citing consultancy services and visa-related work.

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