The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought the stand of a chartered accountant and close associate of MP Karti Chidambaram on a plea by the Central Bureau of Investigation challenging the bail granted to him by the trial court in an alleged bribery case concerning visa clearance of 263 Chinese nationals.
Justice Poonam A Bamba issued notice to S Bhaskararaman, the chartered accountant, and listed the plea for further hearing on September 27. Bhaskararaman, who was arrested by the investigating agency on May 18, was granted bail by the trial court on June 9.
The bribery incident in the case is alleged to have taken place in 2011 when Karti Chidambaram’s father P Chidambaram was the Union home minister. The agency has alleged that the CA was approached by Vikas Makharia, the then associate vice president of Talwandi Sabo Power Ltd (TSPL), for the reissue of project visas for 263 Chinese workers working at the Mansa-based power plant which was in the process of being set up.
The CBI FIR has alleged that Makharia approached Karti through his “close associate/frontman” Bhaskararaman, the officials have said.
Project visas were a special type of visa introduced in 2010 for the power and steel sector for which detailed guidelines were issued during P Chidambaram’s tenure as the home minister but there was no provision for the reissue of project visas, the FIR has alleged.
It has alleged that the payment of Rs 50 lakh bribe was routed from TSPL to Karti and Bhaskararaman through Mumbai-based Bell Tools Ltd with payments camouflaged under two invoices raised for consultancy and out of pocket expenses for Chinese visas related works.
Makharia had later thanked Karti and Bhaskararaman on email, it has added.