ED files money laundering case against Karti Chidambaram

Updated on May 26, 2022 02:45 AM IST

The case dates to events that allegedly took place between July and September 2011, when P Chidambaram was the union home minster in United Progressive Alliance’s second term. Visa clearances come under the purview of the ministry of home affairs.

Karti Chidambaram, who was on a trip to the UK and Europe with the permission of the Supreme Court, landed in India around 4am on Wednesday and is expected to appear before the CBI sometime this week. (ANI)
Karti Chidambaram, who was on a trip to the UK and Europe with the permission of the Supreme Court, landed in India around 4am on Wednesday and is expected to appear before the CBI sometime this week. (ANI)
By, New Delhi

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a money laundering case against Karti Chidambaram, a Lok Sabha MP, his close aide S Bhaskararaman, and others in the matter related to facilitation of project visas for Chinese nationals for a power project of the Vedanta group in Punjab in return for bribes, at a time when his father was the union home minister.

People familiar with the development said ED has taken cognizance of CBI’s first information report (FIR) filed last week, in which it claimed that 50 lakh was paid to a firm, Advantage Strategic Consulting Pvt Ltd (ASCPL), controlled by Karti, for facilitating “project visas” for 263 Chinese nationals. These Chinese citizens were to work at Vedanta group’s 1980 megawatt thermal power project, run by its subsidiary, Talwandi Sabo Power Limited (TSPL) at Banawala village in Punjab’s Mansa district.

The case dates to events that allegedly took place between July and September 2011, when P Chidambaram was the union home minster in United Progressive Alliance’s second term. Visa clearances come under the purview of the ministry of home affairs.

Karti, who was on a trip to the UK and Europe with the permission of the Supreme Court, landed in India around 4am on Wednesday and is expected to appear before the CBI sometime this week.

The case has been lodged against Karti Chidambaram, S Bhaskararaman, Vikas Makharia of Vedanta Group, TSPL, and a Mumbai based company, Bell Tools Limited, apart from unknown public servants.

P Chidambaram has not been named as in the latest case, but CBI has alleged it appears he was aware of the favour to Vedanta Group.

The Chidambarams have denied all the allegations. In a statement issued on Tuesday, Karti said, “I am heading back home today, as was planned when I left two weeks ago for a work/family-visit trip to UK and Europe. It does not intimidate me that the central government is once again using its agencies to accuse me of a malicious and completely fabricated charge. Previously, the agencies have gone after me based on the statement of an undertrial murder suspect. Now, they are basing their bogus charges on the alleged actions of a deceased person, whom I have never met. I intend to continue to fight every one of their motivated attempts to target my father through me”.

Interestingly, the latest CBI case was registered on a reference from the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The anti-money laundering probe agency wrote to CBI in June 2018 saying it retrieved emails which reveal 50 lakh was paid to ASCPL for the visa facilitation.

Since ED has now formally registered a case in the matter, it will be able to record statements of named persons under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). If it finds any truth in the allegations, ED has powers to attach the properties of the accused

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