ED Attaches Jacqueline Fernandez’s Rs 7.27 Crore Assets In Conman Sukesh’s Investigation

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth Rs 7.27 crores of Bollywood actor Jacqueline Fernandez under the anti-money laundering law in connection with a criminal investigation against the alleged conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar and others, news agency PTI reported on Saturday. 

The central agency has issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for attaching fixed deposits worth Rs 7.12 crore and Rs 15 lakh cash of Fernandez as it called these funds “proceeds of crime”.

“Sukesh Chandrashekhar had given various gifts worth Rs 5.71 crore to Jacqueline Fernandez from the proceeds of crime generated by criminal activities including extortion. Chandrashekhar had put Pinky Irani, his long-time associate and co-accused in this case to deliver the said gifts to her” the ED said in a statement. 

It further added, that in addition to these gifts, Chandrashekhar also gave “funds to the tune of USD 1,72,913 (about Rs 1.3 crore as per current exchange rate) and AUD 26740 (approx. Rs 14 lakh) to the close family members of Fernandez out of the proceeds of crime through co-accused Avtar Singh Kochhar, an established and well known international hawala operator,” PTI reported.

The agency found in its probe that Chandrashekhar had “delivered cash to the tune of Rs 15 lakh to a scriptwriter on behalf of Fernandez as advance for writing a script of her web series project.” The cash amount has also been attached and the investigation is in progress, it added. 

The 36-year-old actor Jacqueline Fernandez is a Sri Lankan national who has been questioned by the ED in regard to this case several times. She was also stopped by the federal agency from flying abroad and was directed to join the probe after being intercepted at the Mumbai airport in December last year. 

The ED has alleged that Chandrashekhar used illegal money to buy gifts for Fernandez which he had extorted by cheating high-profile people including former Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Mohan Singh’s wife Aditi Singh. He is alleged to have conned Aditi Singh and her sister by impersonating the Union home secretary and also the Law secretary over the phone.

ED said its investigation found that a person “was contacting people spoofing calls to dupe them as the numbers reflecting on their phone were from government officers and he claimed to be a government officer offering to help people for a price.”

“Adopting this modus operandi, the said person contacted Aditi Singh, wife of Shivinder Mohan Singh, by impersonating himself as Union home secretary, Union law secretary, an officer from prime ministers office (PMO), and other junior officials and extorted more than Rs 200 crore from her over a period of 1 year on the pretext of contribution to party funds,” the ED said. 

“The said person was conman Sukesh Chandrasekhar who was running his illegal extortion business from central jail in Delhi (Tihar jail) in connivance with jail officials,” it added. 

Meanwhile, Fernandez said in a statement recorded in August and October last year that she “received” gifts like three designer bags from Gucci, Chanel, two Gucci outfits for gym wear, a pair of Louis Vuitton shoes, two pairs of diamond earrings, and a bracelet of multi-coloured stones and two Hermes bracelets from Chandrashekhar. She further said that she returned the Mini Cooper car which she received similarly. 

The ED in its investigation found that Chandrashekhar was in “regular contact” with her since February till he got arrested by Delhi police on August 7, 2021.

So far, nine people have been arrested in the case including Chandrashekhar, his wife Leena Maria Paul, Pinky Irani, and others. Two charge sheets have also been filed before a Delhi court. 

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