Karti allegedly ‘abused his influence’ with the Home Ministry in 2011 and ‘conspired’ with co-defendants to create a “back door way to lose the purpose of the ceiling” on the work permit imposed by the ministry, the CBI alleges. P Chidambaram, Karti’s father and senior Congress leader, was home minister in 2011. P Chidambaram’s name was not named in the FIR.
Apart from Karti, four others have also been sued. The four co-accused are: Kartik’s chartered accountant S Bhaskararaman; Bikash Makharia, Talwandi Sabo representative Md
, A Mansa-based private company, and Bell Tools, Mumbai, has been named. The FIR also mentions “unknown government employees and individuals”.
In his FIR, the CBI said that “there is reason to believe that the then Home Secretary and Home Minister was aware of Messrs. Talwandi Sabo Power Limited (TSPL) and the work of Messrs. TSPL was done. Was the then Home Minister and the then Home Secretary aware of the aforesaid demands and illegal gratification? ”
The FIR further states that “information exists that P Chidambaram was on the board of Vedanta Group where his son Karti Chidambaram received financial favors from Messrs. Sterlite Optical Technologies Limited, Mumbai (A).
Group company), which lent Rs 1.5 crore to his company as Messrs. Meltrack India Limited, Chennai in November 2003 and its interest was waived in August 2014 (when Chidambaram was sworn in as Finance Minister).
The CBI on Tuesday conducted multiple investigations in 10 places, including Chennai, Mumbai, Koppal (Karnataka), Jharsuguda (Orissa), Mansa (Punjab) and Delhi. Among the places searched were Chidambaram’s official residences in Delhi and Chennai.
“I lost count; How many times has it happened? There has to be a record, ”Karti tweeted. “This morning, a CBI team searched my residence in Chennai and my official residence in Delhi. The team showed me an FIR so that my name was not charged. The search team found nothing and seized nothing. I can mention that the search time is interesting, “P Chidambaram tweeted.
Talwandi Sabo Power, an associate of Vedanta Group, was in the process of setting up a 1980-megawatt thermal power plant in Mansa, which was outsourced to a Chinese company, the CBI FIR said. The Vedanta group had earlier denied knowledge of any controversy in the agreement. It said it faithfully follows corporate governance practices.
The CBI has alleged that in order to avoid punitive action for the ongoing project behind schedule, Talwandi Sabo Ltd tried to recruit more Chinese professionals. It requires project visas above the ceiling imposed by the Interior Ministry, it complained. Bikash Makharia of Talwandi had approached Karti Chidambaram through his alleged associate S Bhaskaraman for this purpose, the CBI alleged.
They, then, allowed Chinese company officials to re-use the 263 project visas allocated to them, “creating a back door to losing the visa limit,” the CBI alleged. Makharia submitted a letter to the Interior Ministry, asking the company to approve the re-use of the project visa, which was approved within a month, and the company was allowed to do so, the complaint said. Talwandi Sabo Karti Chidambaram paid a bribe of Rs 50 lakh through Bhaskararaman, the CBI has alleged in its FIR. The bribe was sent to Karti and Bhaskaraman through a Mumbai-based company called Bell Tools, to pay for false invoices raised for consultation and to pocket money for Chinese visa-related work, the CBI alleged. Karti Chidambaram may be interrogated, CBI sources said. The money laundering investigation will be investigated by the Enforcement Directorate FIR and new cases are likely to be registered against Karti and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Sources further indicated that the alleged role of P Chidambaram will also be examined during the investigation. Allegations of involvement of the then Home Secretary will also be investigated.
The FIR states that there was no provision for re-use of project visas as per the guidelines issued by the Home Ministry with the approval of the then Home Minister P Chiambaram. The FIR added, “According to the prevailing guidelines, deviations in rare and exceptional cases can be considered and approved only with the approval of the Home Secretary.