The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday booked Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union finance and home minister P Chidambaram in a case of money laundering in connection to his providing visas to Chinese nationals for a project of the Vedanta Group.
Karti, who is also a Lok Sabha MP had reportedly accepted a bribe of Rs 50 lakhs to facilitate visas for 300 Chinese nationals while his father was a Union minister.
The Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) had also booked Karti in the same case last week and also conducted nation-wide raids at several places connected to him and his father.
The CBI had also booked Karti’s chartered accountant S Bhaskararaman, Punjab based Talwandi Sabo Power Limited, Vikas Makharia, a Talwandi Sabo representative and Mumbai based Bell Tools Limited.
In 2018, the ED had claimed that while probing the INX Media case it had come across digital evidence on Karti being offered Rs 50 lakhs by the Vedanta Group to facilitate the visas for the Chinese nationals. P Chidambaram was the Union home minister at that time.
Meanwhile, Karti arrived for questioning at New Delhi’s Lodhi Road early on Thursday, denied the allegations saying that they are baseless.
“I have not facilitated a single Chinese national in getting a visa,” the Indian Express quoted Karti as saying.
According to ED the bribes were paid to Karti through Bell Tools Limited after Bhaskaran had a conversation with P Chidambaram, who was reportedly on the board of the Vedanta Group. Karti had also reportedly obtained financial assistance from the company’s subsidiary, Talwandi Sabo Power Limited.
Talwandi Sabo had outsourced to a Chinese company the process of establishing a 1,980 megawatt thermal power plant at Mansa in Punjab. Since the project was running behind schedule the company decided to bring more Chinese, for which it required project visas in addition to the ceiling imposed by the Union home ministry.