The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday arrested a close associate of Congress MP Karti P Chidambaram in a visa scam case.
A senior CBI official said that after detailed questioning, they have formally arrested S Bhaskar Raman. On Tuesday, the CBI has registered a case against five accused identified as Karti P Chidambaram, S Bhaskararaman, a close associate, Vikas Makharia, representing Mansa (Punjab) based private company, M/s Talwandi Sabo Power Limited, Mansa (Punjab), M/s Bell Tools Limited, Mumbai (Maharashtra) and unknown public servants and private persons.
It has been alleged that the private company based at Mansa was in the process of establishing a 1980 MW thermal power plant at Mansa (Punjab) and the establishment of the plant was outsourced to a Chinese Company.
“It has been further alleged that the project was running behind its schedule. In order to avoid penal actions for the delay, the said private company of Mansa was trying to bring more and more Chinese persons/professionals for their site at District Mansa (Punjab) and needed Project VISAs over and above the ceiling imposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs,” the investigation agency said in an official release.
It has also been alleged that for the said purpose, the Representative of the said private company approached a person based in Chennai through his close associate/frontman, and thereafter they devised a back-door way to defeat the purpose of the ceiling (maximum of Project VISAs permissible to the company’s plant) by granting permission to re-use 263 Project VISAs allotted to the said Chinese company’s officials.
According to the release, it has also been alleged that in pursuance of the same, the said representative of a Mansa-based 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.
The CBI said that a bribe of Rs 50 Lakh was allegedly demanded by a said private person based in Chennai through his close associate/frontman which was paid by the said Mansa-based private company.
“It has been further alleged that the payment of said bribe was routed from Mansa based private company to said private person of Chennai and his close associate/frontman through a Mumbai based company as payment of false invoice raised for Consultancy and out of pocket expenses for Chinese VISAs related works whereas the private company based at Mumbai was never in any kind of work relating to VISAs rather it was in an entirely different business of industrial knives,” it added.
Searches were conducted at around 10 places including Chennai, Mumbai, Koppal (Karnataka), Jharsuguda (Orissa), Mansa (Punjab), Delhi, and others.