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Visa scam: Court directs Karti Chidambaram to join investigation, CBI to give advance notice before arrest

ANI | Updated: May 20, 2022 18:13 IST

New Delhi [India], May 20 (ANI): A Special Court on Friday directed Congress MP Karti Chidambaram to join the investigation when he arrives back in India, in an alleged visa scam case, while hearing an anticipatory bail by him.
The Special Judge MK Nagpal on Friday noted that Karti Chidambaram is presently abroad and will return on May 24, 2022. Court then directed that the applicant shall join the investigation within 16 hours of his arrival back in the country.
Appearing for CBI, Senior Public Prosecutor Nikhil Goel assures the court that the agency will serve a notice in advance atleast before 48 hours if he needs to be arrested. On that, the court directed that in case the CBI is required to arrest the accused the applicant should be served an advance notice of atleast 3 working days.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for Karti, submitted before the court that illegality prima facie was not established. Nothing to show that Karti is involved in the matter.
Anticipatory bail plea filed through Advocates Arshdeep Singh Khurana, Akshat Gupta, Harsh Mittal and Harsh Srivastava stated that nothing incriminating was found and no incriminating material was seized during the CBI search proceedings. No cash or any other undisclosed income was recovered. No documents in relation to any undisclosed property or assets were recovered or seized.
The plea also stated that the CBI has not alleged that throughout the preliminary enquiry carried out by the Respondent CBI, the applicant had committed any act or omission, directly or indirectly, to tamper with any evidence or influence any witnesses. No allegation has been levelled against the applicant that he even attempted to tamper with any evidence or influence any witnesses
The material in the instant case is documentary in nature, in the form of governmental files and records which are lying in the safe custody and possession of the incumbent Government, if not already seized by the CBI, and as such, there arises no question of tampering with any such documentary evidence, said the plea.
Karti Chidambaram, Member of Parliament Congress leader on Friday had moved a pre-arrest bail in a Delhi Court in an alleged visa scam case. On Thursday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) got four days remand of S Bhaskar Raman, Chartered accountant of him.
Special CBI Judge Prashant Kumar on Thursday while sending S Bhaskar Raman to remand had said, "it is reflected from the submissions of CBI that investigation has started in this case which is at its inception, investigation officer is required some time to collect all the relevant information which may be necessary in this case, therefore, in my considered opinion, it would be appropriate that 4 days police remand custody is granted to the CBI"
Court noted that the accused is admittedly CA of Kartik Chidambaram and he has been wanted in another case wherein he has been enlarged on bail. The FIR is dated 14.05.2022. It is further reflected that though the accused has been inquired about during this period, however, a detailed inquiry, as well as a recording of his statement, is yet to be done. It is also stated by and on behalf of CBI that there are other accused persons involved in this case for which relevant information is required to proceed ahead in this case.
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) while seeking remand of S Bhaskar Raman alleged that the accused being CA of Kartik Chidambaram has a relevant piece of information as well as various e-mails which are required to be extracted from him for which his police remand is required. A thorough detailed investigation is to be done to extract such information from the accused.
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. (ANI)