NEW DELHI: Months after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) registered a case of money laundering in connection with the alleged visa for bribery case, the financial probe agency on Friday carried out searches at six locations in Chennai.
An ED source said that the financial probe carried out searches at six locations in Chennai.
The ED has taken over the CBI case in connection with the Chinese Visa scam case.
The development comes after the CBI booked Karti Chidambaram, 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 ₹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.