The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against five accused including private persons based in Chennai, Mumbai, private companies based in Mumbai, Mansa (Punjab), etc and unidentified public servants and private persons. The accused include Congress leader Karti P Chidambaram.
As per the CBI, the case has been registered on certain allegations including bribery to facilitate the issuance of a visa to a Chinese company beyond the ceiling.
The other four accused in the case have been identified as S Bhaskararaman (close associate) based in Chennai, Vikas Makharia, representing Mansa (Punjab) based private company, M/s Talwandi Sabo Power Limited, Mansa (Punjab), M/s Bell Tools Limited, Mumbai (Maharashtra), and other unidentified public servant(s) and private person(s).
"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 establishing 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 security agency said in a press release.
Further, the CBI informed that as per allegation, 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.
"It has been alleged that in pursuance of the same, the said representative of Mansa-based private company submitted a letter to 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. A bribe of Rs. 50 Lakh was allegedly demanded by said private person based in Chennai through his close associate/Frontman which was paid by the said Mansa based private company," the release stated.
As per the release, it has also been 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.
The CBI said that searches are being conducted today at around 10 places including Chennai, Mumbai, Koppal (Karnataka), Jharsuguda (Odisha), Mansa (Punjab), and Delhi.
The investigation is underway.
(With Inputs from ANI)