Chinese visa scam: Delhi court grants bail to 3 in money laundering case

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Chinese visa scam: Delhi court grants bail to 3 in money laundering case
New Delhi: A Delhi court on Friday granted interim bail to three accused in a money laundering case related to the alleged Chinese visa scam.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a charge sheet in March before the Special PMLA court against Congress MP Karti P. Chidambaram and his former chartered accountant S. Bhaskararaman in the case.

Chidambaram has not moved the bail application before the trial court, and his anticipatory bail is pending before the high court.

The court had taken cognisance of the charge sheet last month and issued summonses to the accused.

Besides Chidambaram, Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Ltd, Talwandi Sabo Power Ltd and others are also named as accused in the case.

Special Judge Kaveri Baweja of Rouse Avenue Court on Friday granted interim bail to each accused person on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh. The judge also granted time to the ED to file a reply on the regular bail applications of other accused persons. The next date of hearing is May 2.

The financial probe agency had initiated the investigation based on an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The investigation by the ED revealed that Chidambaram allegedly received illegal gratification of Rs 50 lakh through his close aide Bhaskararaman in exchange for facilitating the approval for the reuse of Chinese visas by Talwandi Sabo Power Ltd.

“This company was involved in establishing a power project in Mansa, Punjab. Officials from the company approached Karti P. Chidambaram to assist in obtaining approval for visa reuse from the Ministry of Home Affairs, where his father served as Home Minister,” a senior ED official had said.

The official had said that the modus operandi employed in this case involved the company issuing a Rs 50 lakh cheque to an entry operator for fictitious services, and the entry operator then provided Rs 50 lakh in cash to Bhaskararaman.

“Subsequently, S. Bhaskararaman invested this cash sum of Rs 50 lakh into Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Ltd, a company controlled by Karti P. Chidambaram. Over time, the value of this investment increased to Rs 1.59 crore, constituting proceeds of crime under the provisions of the PMLA,” the official had said.


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