CBI to grill Karti Chidambaram in Chinese visa scam case today

New Delhi, May 25 : The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has summoned Karti Chidambaram to join the probe in connection with a fresh case lodged against him and others for allegedly helping Chinese nationals getting visas by flouting rules. "Karti has been summoned to appear on Wednesday by 11 a.m. at our New Delhi based headquarters," said a CBI source. Karti's Charted Accountant S. Bhaskararaman is currently on custodial remand of the CBI and there are possibilities that Karti might be confronted with him. The CBI has recovered 65,000 emails in the matter, which will be used as evidences. Similarly, a sales deed, recovered during raids, is also considered crucial in the case. The deed is of a property bought in Jor Bagh and its power of attorney is in the name of Bhaskararaman, whereas the property was bought by Karti and his mother. According to the FIR, a Mansa (Punjab) based private firm, Talwandi Sabo Power Limited, took help of a middleman and allegedly paid Rs 50 lakh to get the visa issued for Chinese nationals, which would help the firm in completing a project before the deadline. "The private firm was in the process of establishing a 1,980 MW thermal power plant the work for which was outsourced to a Chinese company. The project was running behind its schedule. In order to avoid penal actions for the delay, the said private company was trying to bring more and more Chinese professionals to its site for which it needed project visas over and above the ceiling imposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs," said a CBI official. The official said that for the said purpose, the representative of the private company approached a person based in Chennai through his close associate and thereafter they devised a back-door strategy to defeat the purpose of visa ceiling by granting permission to re-use 263 project visas allotted to the said Chinese company. In pursuance of the same, the private company submitted a letter to the 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 the private person in Chennai through his close associate which was paid by the Mansa-based private firm. The payment of said bribe was routed from the private firm to the person in Chennai and his close associate through a Mumbai-based company as payment of 'false' invoice raised for Consultancy and out of pocket expenses for Chinese visas related works. The Mumbai-based company was never in any kind of work relating to visas rather it was in an entirely different business of industrial knives," added the official. It has been alleged that senior Chidambaram helped Chinese in getting visas by flouting rules. /IANS


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