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Chinese visa racket: Karti Chidambaram’s close aide held

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The source also said that around 260 visas were facilitated by Karti and others for Chinese nationals.

New Delhi, May 18: A day after the raids on Congress leader Karti Chidambaram, a close aide, S Bhaskararaman has been arrested.

CBI searches 9 locations in connection with case against P Chidambaram's son Karti | Oneindia News

Karti Chidambaram whose residential and office premises were searched by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been accused of taking illegal gratification of Rs 50 lakh to facilitate visas for some Chinese nationals working on a project in Punjab, sources tell OneIndia.

Chinese visa racket: Karti Chidambaram’s close aide held

The source also said that around 260 visas were facilitated by Karti and others for Chinese nationals.

The Talwandi Sabo Power Limited was in the process of establishing a 1,9800 MW thermal plant in Mansa, Punjab. The same was outsourced to to a Chinese company called Shandong Electric Power Construction Corp (Spec). Since the project was running behind schedule, the company was trying to bring in more Chinese professionals to the site in order to avoid penal action.

It is alleged that the home ministry under the UPA government had allegedly cleared illegal visas for Chinese nationals in lieu of bribe for Karti Chidambaram in the year 2011.

The CBI took Bhaskararaman for questioning late on Tuesday evening and he was placed under arrest in the early hours of Wednesday, the officials said.

The agency has alleged that Bhaskaraman was approached by Vikas Makharia, the then associate vice president of Talwandi Sabo Power Ltd (TSPL), for the reissue of project visas for 263 Chinese workers working at the Mansa-based power plant which was in the process of being set up.

The CBI case (FIR), which contains a findings of the investigating officer who probed the PE, has alleged that Makharia approached Karti Chidambaram through his "close associate/front man" Mr Bhaskararaman, the officials said.

"They 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 reuse 263 project visas allotted to the said Chinese company's officials," they said.

Searches were conducted at nine locations including three in Mumbai, three in Tamil Nadu and one place each in Karnataka, Punjab and Odisha. The search was conducted following the registration of a fresh case by the CBI in connection with an alleged foreign remittances case that took place between 2010 and 2014.

The source also said that he had allegedly facilitated the visas of 250 Chinese nationals for a power project in Punjab between 2010 and 2014. In Delhi, the CBI searched the 80 Lodhi Estate residence of Chidambaram this morning. The staff in the house were questioned following which the officials took some papers with them. It was during the investigation into the INX Media case that the CBI found papers relating to the existing case.

Karti the son of former union minister, P Chidambaram has been facing multiple corruption cases. He has already been charged in the INX Media money laundering case. He had been arrested by the CBI in February 2018 and later released on bail in connection with the INX case.

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