New Delhi, May 18: The Central Bureau of Investigation arrested a close associate of Congress MP Karti P Chidambaram in a visa scam case on Wednesday.
A senior CBI official informed that after detailed questioning, they have formally arrested S Bhaskar Raman. On Tuesday, the probe agency registered a case against five accused identified as Karti P Chidambaram, his close associate S Bhaskararaman, 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.
According to media reports, the private company based in Mansa was in the process of establishing a 1980 MW thermal power plant in 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 informed in an official release.
It is also claimed that for the said purpose, the Representative of the said private company approached a person based in Chennai through his close associate/frontman and 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 is further 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 and sought 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 added that a bribe of Rs 50 Lakh was reportedly 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 further stated.
Searches have been conducted at around 10 places including Chennai, Mumbai, Koppal (Karnataka), Jharsuguda (Orissa), Mansa (Punjab), Delhi and others.