Karti Chidambaram appears before CBI in Chinese visa scam case, says 'it's bogus'

In a related development, a Delhi court on Thursday granted Karti Chidambaram in a case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) over allegations of money laundering in allotting Chinese visas

Somendra SharmaUpdated: Thursday, May 26, 2022, 07:33 PM IST
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Karti Chidambaram | Photo: PTI

Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P Chidambaram on Thursday morning appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials to record his statement in connection with a case of alleged corruption in providing visas to Chinese officials of a company.

In a related development, a Delhi court on Thursday granted Karti Chidambaram in a case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) over allegations of money laundering in allotting Chinese visas.

"Every case against me is a bogus case. I have not facilitated even a single Chinese national in getting a visa, let alone 250," Karti told the media persons outside CBI headquarter on Thursday. Karti reached the CBI office at around 8:30 am and left after five hours of questioning.

"A property sale deed recovered by the CBI during the searches after registering an offence had revealed that the power of attorney was in the name of S Bhaskararaman (Karti's associate) and that the said property was bought by Karti Chidambaram and his mother. We had also recovered a large number of emails following the arrest of Bhaskararaman. We wanted to make enquiries with Karti on these aspects. Will might ask Karti to join the probe again if required," said a CBI official.

CBI on March 17 had filed a criminal case against Karti and others for allegedly facilitating visas of 263 Chinese nationals after receiving illegal gratification of Rs 50 lakh. The CBI had later arrested Karti's close associate S Bhaskararaman, a Chartered Accountant, for his alleged involvement in the case. The CBI had booked Karti, Bhaskararaman, Vikas Makharia, representing Mansa (Punjab) based private company, M/s Talwandi Sabo Power Limited, Mansa, M/s Bell Tools Limited, Mumbai and unknown public servants.

As per the CBI, Bhaskararaman was the front-man for Karti and allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 50 lakh to facilitate visas for Chinese nationals in violation of the norms of the Ministry of Home Affairs. It is alleged in the FIR that Mansa company representative Vikas Makharia had approached Chidambaram through Bhaskararaman and thereafter they devised a back-door way to defeat the purpose of the ceiling (maximum of project visas permissible to the company’s plant).

Based on CBI's case, the ED on Wednesday had booked Karti Chidambaram and others in a case of money laundering related to Chinese national visa scam. The ED will probe the possible "proceeds of crime" that could have been generated due to the alleged illegal activity, officials said.

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