The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday alleged that Congress MP Karti P Chidambaram took a bribe of ₹50 lakh through his close aide S Bhaskararaman to get Union Ministry of Home Affairs approval for the reuse of 263 visas by Chinese nationals employed by M/s. Talwandi Sabo Power Limited to establish a power project at Mansa, Punjab.

These serious allegations are a part of the prosecution complaint ED filed in Special Court PMLA, New Delhi, against Karti P. Chidambaram, M/s. Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited, S. Bhaskararaman, M/s. Talwandi Sabo Power Limited and Others. The court took cognizance of the prosecution complaint on March 19.

Officials of the company allegedly approached Karti to get approval for the reuse of visas from the Ministry of Home Affairs, wherein his father, P Chidambaram, was Home Minister in 2011, charged the ED in a statement issued on Thursday. Karti, 52, represents the Sivaganga Lok Sabha seat of Tamil Nadu in the Lok Sabha and has recorded his statement before the agency multiple times in the case.

The ED initiated money laundering investigation on the basis of FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the provisions of Indian Penal Code, 1860, and Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

“Modus operandi adopted in the case was that the Company paid ₹50 lakh through cheque to an entry operator in the garb of fictitious services. The entry operator in turn paid ₹50 lakh cash to S. Bhaskararaman, a close associate of Kati Chidambaram. Subsequently, S. Bhaskararaman invested this cash of ₹50 lakh in Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited, a Company controlled by Karti P. Chidambaram,” the ED alleged.

The agency revealed that the value of ₹50 lakh so invested increased to ₹1.59 crore over a period of time, which is the proceeds of crime as per provisions of PMLA, 2002.

He told a news agency that his lawyers would l respond to these charges in court during trial, but earlier, he had dubbed the ED probe as a “roving” and “phishing” inquiry that was “most bogus.”

The CBI, which is simultaneously carrying out its probe in the case, had last year raided the premises of the Chidambaram family last year and arrested Bhaskararaman, though Karti Chidambaram was just questioned by the sleuths.

Other cases

Congress leader Karti also faces PMLA investigations in the INX Media and Aircel-Maxis cases.