Karti Chidambaram moved Delhi court for pre-arrest bail in visa matter involving Chinese national

20 May, 2022 | Riya Girdhar

The Central Bureau of Investigation charged the Lok Sabha MP from Sivaganga on May 17 for allegedly arranging visas for Chinese nationals to work on a project in Punjab in exchange for bribery.

According to sources, Congress MP Karti Chidambaram filed a motion in Delhi court on Friday seeking pre-arrest bail in the Chinese visa case.

The move comes just three days after he was arrested by the CBI on charges of allegedly arranging visas for Chinese people for a project in Punjab in exchange for payments.

Karti Chidambaram, his chartered accountant S Bhaskararaman, Vikas Makharia of Vedanta Group, TSPL, Mumbai-based company Bell Tools Limited, and unknown public workers were named in the case. The complaint was lodged when the CBI raided Karti Chidambaram’s office on May 17.

The CBI obtained a four-day detention of Karti Chidambaram’s CA S Bhaskar Raman in the visa case on Thursday. “It appears from the CBI’s statements that the investigation has begun in this matter, which is at its beginning, and the investigation officer will require some time to collect all relevant material that may be required in this case,” Special CBI Judge Prashant Kumar said.

The lawsuit concerns alleged occurrences that occurred between July and September 2011 during P Chidambaram’s tenure as union home minister in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

The CBI claims that Karti paid 50 lakh to Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited for facilitating project visas for 263 Chinese nationals who were to work at Vedanta Group’s 1980 megawatt thermal power project in Punjab’s Mansa district, which was run by its subsidiary TalwandiSabo Power Limited.

The Enforcement Directorate wrote to the CBI in June 2018, stating that it had retrieved emails confirming a payment of Rs 50 lakh to Karti’s firm for visa facilitation. In March of this year, the CBI filed a preliminary inquiry, which was then transformed into a FIR on May 14.