Congress MP Karti Chidambaram on Tuesday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for a fresh round of questioning in a money laundering case. This case is linked to the issuing of visas to some Chinese nationals in 2011, as reported by the news agency PTI.
On December 23, last year as well, the legislator from the Sivaganga Lok Sabha seat in Tamil Nadu was questioned in this case. Under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the ED recorded his statement.
The money laundering case, filed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), was registered after a CBI FIR.
He was again presented before the case’s investigating officer at the ED headquarters in central Delhi, states the report.
“This is a routine affair. These are things that happen routinely, especially when elections come near. These are all exercises in futility. We will go through them,” Karti Chidambaram told PTI before entering the agency’s office.
The probe pertains to allegations of Rs 50 lakh being paid as kickbacks to Karti and his close associate S Bhaskararaman by a top executive of Vedanta group company Talwandi Sabo Power Ltd. (TSPL), which was setting up a power plant in Punjab, according to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) FIR.
As per the CBI, the work of setting up the power project was getting done by a Chinese company. However, it was running behind schedule. A TSPL executive had sought re-issuance of project visas for 263 Chinese workers for which Rs 50 lakh allegedly exchanged hands, according to the CBI FIR.
Last year, the CBI raided the premises of the Chidambaram family and arrested Bhaskararaman. Karti was questioned regarding the matter.
Earlier, Karti said that the ED probe was a “fishing and roving” enquiry and that he had previously submitted documents to the agency. He had called the case “most bogus”, asserting he was “certain that he never facilitated even a single Chinese national in their visa process, let alone 250.” He had said this case was an attempt to target his father (senior Congress leader P Chidambaram) via him.
Meanwhile, this is the third money laundering case against Karti, with the INX Media and Aircel-Maxis cases being investigated by the ED for some years.
(With PTI inputs)