Visa scam: Karti's aide S.Bhaskar Raman to be produced before Delhi court

by IANS |

New Delhi, May 19 (IANS) S.Bhaskar Raman, a close associate of Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Karti Chidambaram, will be produced before a link judge in Rouse Avenue Court on Thursday.

In the absence of main judge Rakesh Kumar Sharma, the case will now be heard by judge Prashant Kumar.

Bhaskar Raman was arrested by the CBI on Wednesday from Chennai for allegedly helping Chinese nationals get Visas by flouting the rules.

After the arrest, he was produced before a local court in Chennai which sent him on one-day transit remand.

The CBI is all set to seek two weeks custody of him in the matter. He will be grilled and confronted with a number of evidence.

On Tuesday, the probe agency conducted raids at 10 locations across the nation including the house of former Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

Later in the day, senior Chidambaram criticised the CBI's move saying that he wasn't named in the FIR.

A senior CBI official said that Karti Chidambaram and Bhaskar Raman were named as accused along with others including private firms. It is said that senior Chidambaram allegedly helped them.

According to the FIR, a Mansa (Punjab) based private firm, Talwandi Sabo Power Limited, took help of a middleman and allegedly paid Rs 50 lakh to get the Visa issued for Chinese nationals which would help it in completing a project before the deadline.

"The Mansa (Punjab) based private firm was in the process of establishing a 1980 MW thermal power plant and establishing of plant was outsourced to a Chinese Company. The project was running behind its schedule. In order to avoid penal actions for the delay, the said private company 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 Ministry of Home Affairs," said the CBI official.

The official said that for the said purpose, the representative of the said private company approached a person based at Chennai through his close associate and thereafter they devised a back-door way to defeat the purpose of 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.

In pursuance of the same, the said representative of Mansa based private company submitted a letter to Ministry of Home Affairs seeking approval to re-use the Project VISAs allotted to this company, which was approved within a month and permission was issued to the company.

"A bribe of Rs 50 lakh was allegedly demanded by said private person based at Chennai through his close associate which was paid by the said Mansa based private company.

"The payment of said bribe was routed from Mansa based private company to said private person of Chennai and his close associate 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," said the CBI official.

It has been alleged that senior Chidambaram allegedly helped Chinese getting visas by flouting rules.

The CBI said that they were looking into the matter.

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