The Enforcement Directorate has registered a money-laundering case against Congress MP Karti Chidambaram and others on the basis of a first information report alleging that he took bribes to issue visas to 263 Chinese citizens in 2011, PTI reported on Wednesday.
Chidambaram has been booked under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, agency officials said.
The Enforcement Directorate started its investigation into the allegations on the basis of the FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Unidentified Enforcement Directorate officials told PTI that the agency will investigate “proceeds of the crime” that were generated after issuing the visas.
On May 17, the CBI had booked Chidambaram alleging that he had received Rs 50 lakh as “illegal gratification” for arranging visas for Chinese citizens during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance regime. This was during the time when his father, P Chidambaram, was the Union home minister.
Karti Chidambaram was booked by the CBI after agency officials raided nine locations across the country – three each in Chennai and Mumbai and one each in Karnataka, Punjab and Odisha.
The CBI has alleged that Vikas Makharia, the associate vice president of Talwandi Sabo Power thermal power plant in Punjab, had approached Chidambaram’s “close associate or frontman” S Bhaskar Raman to reissue project visas for the Chinese workers employed by him.
Project visas are a special type of visa for employees of the power and steel sector. Guidelines for these visas were issued during P Chidambaram’s tenure as the home minister in 2010, but there was no provision to reuse them.
Meanwhile, Chidambaram, who was out of the country, said on Tuesday that he was returning to India.
“Will fight the malicious, patently false accusations,” he tweeted. “The truth shall prevail.”
Chidambaram has denied the allegations and described the investigation against him as a “witch hunt”.
On Friday, he had moved an anticipatory bail in a Delhi court in the CBI case against him.