The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday started questioning Congress MP Karti Chidambaram for the second consecutive day in connection with an alleged scam pertaining to the issuance of visas to 263 Chinese nationals in 2011 when his father P Chidambaram was home minister.

Karti reached the CBI headquarters around 9.30 am and deposed before the investigators.

Before joining the probe, Karti wrote a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, mentioning “I am distressed to bring the matter of grave importance to your urgent notice”.
“This issue concerns my rights and privileges as a Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha). Over the course of the past few years, my family and I have become targets of a relentless campaign by the present Government and its Investigating Agencies who are trying to silence our voices of dissent by foisting one fake case after another. Such targeted intimidation of a Member of the House amounts to a breach of privilege,” reads the letter

The letter further mentioned that he was becoming a victim of a grossly illegal and patently unconstitutional action.

“Shockingly, even my draft notes and questions which I had intended to ask witnesses summoned to the Committee, were also seized. Furthermore, my handwritten notes pertaining to the depositions made to the Committee by Witnesses were also seized – for reasons best known to the Agency,” stated the letter.

Karti further mentioned in the letter that the actions by the CBI interfered with his parliamentarian duties and urged for immediate cognizance of the issue citing a breach in parliamentary privilege as a pivotal reason.

The CBI had questioned Karti for more than eight hours on Thursday when he first time joined the probe into the case following a special court direction which had ordered him to join the investigation within 16 hours of his arrival from the United Kingdom and Europe, where he had gone with the permission of the Supreme Court and the special court.

Earlier in the day, a Delhi court granted him interim protection from arrest till May 30 in a case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Chinese Visa case.

The CBI case mentioned that in 2011, Talwandi Sabo Power Limited was in the process of setting up a 1980 MW thermal power plant at Mansa in Punjab. The work was outsourced to a Chinese firm named Shandong Electric Power Construction Corporation.

As the project was running behind schedule leading to financial repercussions in terms of penalty and interest on bank loans, it attempted to bring in more Chinese persons or professionals to the work site, for which the firm needed project visas over and above the ceiling imposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

It is alleged that the company’s representative Vikas Makharia approached Raman and then submitted a request letter dated July 30, 2011, to the MHA (Foreigners Division) for permission to re-use the project visas earlier issued to the company. The agency alleges that Raman demanded Rs 50 lakh for the job.

On August 30, 2011, the company was granted approval for the re-use of 263 project visas and the bribe was allegedly paid in cash to Raman. (ANI)