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Karti took Rs 50 lakh bribe through close aide in Chinese visa case: ED

Published:

NEW DELHI: The

Enforcement Directorate

(ED) has leveled serious allegations against Congress MP

Karti Chidambaram

on Thursday. According to the ED, Karti Chidambaram purportedly accepted a

bribe

of Rs 50 lakh through a close aide for facilitating the approval of visa reuse for Chinese personnel by a company establishing a power plant in Punjab.
The ED asserts that this alleged bribe was routed through a fictitious cash transaction into a company where Karti Chidambaram held a directorial position and had significant control.

Karti Chidambaram, aged 52, represents the Sivaganga constituency in Tamil Nadu in the Lok Sabha. The agency has reportedly recorded his statement multiple times in connection with this case.
The ED’s accusations came to light as they filed a charge sheet against Karti Chidambaram, a company believed to be linked to him—Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited—his alleged close aide and accountant S Bhaskararaman, the company involved in the power plant project—Talwandi Sabo Power Limited, and others.

The special Prevention of

Money Laundering

Act (PMLA) court in Delhi has taken cognizance of the prosecution complaint, summoning all accused listed in the charge sheet, including Karti Chidambaram, to appear before it on April 15.
The ED alleges that Karti Chidambaram received illegal gratification of Rs 50 lakh through his associate for securing approval for the reuse of Chinese visas by

Talwandi Sabo Power Limited

. This company was reportedly establishing a power project in Punjab, and its officials sought Karti Chidambaram’s assistance in obtaining approval from the ministry of home affairs, wherein his father, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, was the home minister.
According to the ED, the transaction was conducted through an entry operator, disguising the bribe as payment for fictitious services. Subsequently, the cash amount was allegedly transferred to S Bhaskararaman, who then invested it in Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited, a company purportedly controlled by Karti Chidambaram.
The ED claims that the invested amount increased to Rs 1.59 crore over time, constituting “proceeds of crime” under the PMLA.
Karti Chidambaram has previously dismissed the ED’s probe as a “fishing and roving” enquiry, maintaining that he has provided all necessary documents to the agency. He has vehemently denied the allegations, labeling the case as “bogus” and asserting that he never facilitated the visa process for any Chinese nationals.
This case, Karti Chidambaram argues, is an attempt to target his father, P Chidambaram, through him.
It’s worth noting that this money laundering case by the ED stems from a FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (

CBI

). Allegations suggest that a significant amount was paid as kickbacks to Karti Chidambaram and S Bhaskararaman by a top executive of Talwandi Sabo Power Ltd., a subsidiary of the Vedanta group.
The CBI FIR alleges that the kickbacks were related to the re-issuance of project visas for Chinese workers involved in the power project.
This isn’t Karti Chidambaram’s first brush with the law. He has faced similar probes in the past, notably in the

INX Media

and Aircel-Maxis cases, both of which are being investigated by the ED for several years. Karti Chidambaram has been charge sheeted by the agency in these cases previously.

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