Chennai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today conducted raids at the premises of former Union Minister P.Chidambaram, his son and Lok Sabha MP Karti Chidamarm and five others following allegations, including bribery, to facilitate issuance of visas to a Chinese company beyond ceiling during the period 2010-2014.
CBI registered a fresh case case against six including Karti, his associate S. Bhaskararaman (both Chennai), Vikas Makharia, representing Mansa, a Punjab-based private company, M/s Talwandi Sabo Power Limited, Mansa (Punjab), M/s Bell Tools Limited, Mumbai (Maharashtra) and unknown/public servant(s) and private person(s).
Meanwhile, the CBI in its, First Information Report (FIR) has named Bhaskararaman as the No.1 accused, for allegedly receiving Rs 56 lakh bribe on behalf of Karti to facilitate issuance of visas to the Chinese company, which has been outsourced to establish a 1980 MW thermal power plant at Mansa (Punjab).
Karti Chidambaram has been cited as the second accused, while unknown/public servant(s) and private person(s) were cited as the sixth accused.
Since the CBI has named unknown public and private persons in the FIR, more people were expected to be included as accused during the course of investigation based on the information collected during today’s raids.
Following the registering of cases, the CBI officials today conducted searches at 10 places including former Union Minister and Senior Congress leader Chidambaram’s residence in Chennai and at his official residence in New Delhi, besides in Mumbai, Koppal (Karnataka), Jharsuguda(Orissa), Mansa(Punjab) and Delhi etc, a CBI release said.
Reacting to the CBI raids, the former Union Home and Finance Minister Chidmabaram termed the timing of searches as interesting, while Karti said he has lost count on the number of raids and that it must be a record. Chidambaram said during the raids at his residence at Chennai and his official residence at New Delhi, the team showed him a FIR in which he was not named as an accused.
He also said the team found nothing and seized nothing during the raids. He also said the search team found nothing and seized nothig and that the timing of the search was interesting.
Taking to twitter, he said “this morning, a CBI team searched my residence at Chennai and my official residence at Delhi. The team showed me a FIR in which I am not named as an accused.”
“The search team found nothing and seized nothing.”, he said.
“I may point out that the timing of the search is interesting”, he added.
Meanwhile, Karti too took to twitter and said he had lost count on the number of raids and said it must be a record. “I have lost count, how many times has it been? Must be a record”, Karti said.
Later in another tweet, he said this was sixth occasion the raids are taking place in his premises.
“My office has just updated on the “record” twice in 2015, once in 2017, twice in 2018 & today 🙂 6!”, he added.
It has been alleged that the private company based at Mansa was in the process of establishing a 1980 MW thermal power plant at Mansa (Punjab) and establishing of plant was outsourced to a Chinese Company.
It has been further alleged that the project was running behind its schedule. In order to avoid penal actions for the delay, the private company was trying to bring more and more Chinese persons/professionals for their site at district Mansa (Punjab) and needed Project VISAs over and above the ceiling imposed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
For the said purpose, the Representative of the private company (Vikas Makharia) had approached Bhaskararaman allegedly at the instane of Karti and devised a back door way to defeat the purpose of ceiling (maximum of Project VISAs permissible to the company’s plant) by granting permission to re-use 263 Project VISAs allotted to the Chinese company’s officials.
It has been alleged that in pursuance of the same, the company’s representative submitted a letter to Ministry of Home Affairs seeking approval to re-use the Project VISAs allotted to this company, which was approved within a month and permission was issued to the company.
A bribe of Rs. 50 lakh was allegedly demanded by Bhaskararaman allegedly at the instance of Karti was paid by the said Mansa based firm.
It has been further alleged that the bribe amount was routed from the private company to Bhaskararaman 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 Mumbai-based company was never involved in any kind of work relating to VISAs rather it was in an entirely different business of industrial knives.