A Delhi court on Thursday granted Congress MP Karti Chidambaram interim protection from arrest till May 30 in a money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate, PTI reported. An individual can apply for anticipatory bail if they are likely to be arrested.
The case is based on a first information report filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation alleging that Chidambaram took bribes to facilitate visas for Chinese citizens in 2011.
On May 17, the CBI had accused Chidambaram of receiving Rs 50 lakh as “illegal gratification” for arranging visas for 263 Chinese citizens during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance regime. This was when his father, P Chidambaram, was the Union home minister.
On Wednesday, the Enforcement Directorate booked Chidambaram on charges of money laundering.
On Thursday, Special Judge MK Nagpal also issued a notice to the Enforcement Directorate to file a reply to the anticipatory bail application moved by Chidambaram, PTI reported.
Earlier in the day, Chidambaram described the allegations against him as bogus.
“Every case that has been filed against me is a bogus case,” Karti Chidambaram said on Thursday as he appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation for questioning, NDTV reported. “One is bogus...another is more bogus. This one is most bogus. I have not facilitated a single Chinese national in getting a visa.”
Karti Chidambaram was booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation last week after officials raided nine locations across the country – three each in Chennai and Mumbai and one each in Karnataka, Punjab and Odisha.
The Central Bureau of Investigation has alleged that Vikas Makharia, the associate vice-president of the Talwandi Sabo Power thermal power plant in Punjab, had approached Chidambaram’s “close associate or frontman” S Bhaskar Raman to reissue project visas for Chinese workers whom he had employed.
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.
Karti Chidambaram was out of the country when he was booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation.