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NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday registered a fresh case against Karti Chidambaram, son of former union minister P. Chidambaram, over allegations of bribery. Karti Chidambaram is accused of taking 50 lakh in illegal gratification for facilitating visas for around 260 Chinese nationals to work in a project in Punjab.

CBI teams conducted search operations at 10 locations across multiple cities in the country, including residences of the father-son duo in Chennai and Delhi on Tuesday after registering an FIR in the matter.

“I have lost count; how many times has it been. Must be a record," Karti Chidambaram said on Twitter, referring to the raids.

The case was earlier a preliminary inquiry, which has now been converted into an FIR. The case has been registered against six entities including two companies, Karti Chidambaram and chartered accountant, S Bhaskararaman.

In a press statement CBI said that a company based at Mansa, Punjab, was in the process of establishing a 1980 MW thermal power plant, the setting up of which was outsourced to a Chinese company. The thermal plant in question belongs Talwandi Sabo Power Ltd, which is a Vedanta group company.

An email query sent to the company was not answered immediately.

“It has been further alleged that the project was running behind its schedule. In order to avoid penal actions for the delay, the said private company of Mansa was trying to bring more and more Chinese persons/professionals for their site at district Mansa (Punjab) and needed Project VISAs over & above the ceiling imposed by Ministry of Home Affairs," said CBI in the press statement.

“The searches at our Punjab  facility have been part of a larger CBI investigation. We are extending full cooperation to the authorities and facilitating the due process. We have no further comments," said TSPL spokesperson. 

CBI alleged that the company then approached Karti Chidambaram through an aide to devise a way to bypass the ceiling of maximum project visas allowed.

“This was done by granting permission to re-use 263 project visas allotted to the said Chinese company’s officials," said CBI.

The company then 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, the CBI said.

A bribe of 50 Lakh was allegedly demanded and which was paid by the said Mansa based private company, the agency added.

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