NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday carried out searches at the residence of former Union minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram in Delhi and Chennai in a fresh case of alleged bribery against his son Karti.
Multiple teams of the CBI raided more than 10 locations, including residences of the Chidambarams, in Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Karnataka and Odisha on allegation that Karti received bribes for felicitating visas of Chinese nationals during UPA-2.
As per CBI sources, the fresh case was registered against Karti by the agency based on a previous case for allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs 50 lakh in lieu of visas to more than over 250 Chinese nationals for Talwandi Sabo Power Plant in Punjab’s Mansa between 2010-2014, when Chidambaram Sr was the Union home minister.
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.
WATCH: After conducting searches at the residence of former Union minister @PChidambaram_IN in an alleged bribery case against his son @KartiPC, a CBI team reaches again at the Congress Rajya Sabha MP's 80 Lodhi Estate residence in Delhi, reports @Anand_Journ pic.twitter.com/UoIzWmAYhH
— The New Indian (@TheNewIndian_in) May 17, 2022
The sources said a 1980 MW thermal power plant was being set in Mansa, process of which was outsourced to Chinese company 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 sources said, adding that this needed project visas over and above the ceiling imposed by Ministry of Home Affairs.
“So, the company approached Karti Chidambaram through his close associates. 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 company officials,” the sources revealed.
The permission for this devious visa grant to Chinese professionals was approved by Union Home Ministry in the same month of application, as per the sources.
Payment of crores of rupees was done to Karti through a false invoice by a company which made industrial knives. The company cited consultancy services and visa related work while making the payment.
Reacting to the CBI raids, Chidambaram Sr, a Rajya Sabha MP, raised questions on the timing of the searches by the Central agency.
“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. I may point out that the timing of the search is interesting,” he tweeted.
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.
I may point out that the timing of the search is interesting.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) May 17, 2022
“I have lost count, how many times has it been? Must be a record,” wrote Karti.
I have lost count, how many times has it been? Must be a record.
— Karti P Chidambaram (@KartiPC) May 17, 2022
Congress party also strongly defended its senior leader, with party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala saying Chidambaram’s “commitment to the country is unquestionable”.
“Mr P Chidambaram is a Nationalist and a Patriot, whose commitment to the country is unquestionable. To plant source based preposterous allegations against a former Home Minister and Finance Minister by CBI reflects the lowest ebb in political discourse,” Surjewala wrote on Twitter.
Mr. @PChidambaram_IN is a Nationalist & a Patriot, whose commitment to the country is unquestionable. To plant source based preposterous allegations against a former Home Minister & Finance Minister by CBI reflects the lowest ebb in political discourse.
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) May 17, 2022
The CBI, which is investigating other cases against the Chidambarams as well, had earlier arrested them.