The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday named Bollywood actor Jacqueline Fernandez as an accused in its supplementary chargesheet filed before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Delhi in connection with a Rs 215 crore money-laundering scam involving conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar, among others. The ED has claimed in its chargesheet that it had found incriminating evidence against Fernandez for allegedly abetting and aiding Chandrashekar, the key accused in extorting and laundering over Rs 200 crore from former Ranbaxy promoters Aditi Singh and Shivendra Singh.
In its first chargesheet, the central probe agency had stated how Chandrashekar had placed and layered the money extorted from the former Ranbaxy promoters. In its supplementary chargesheet, the ED has further claimed that the 36-year-old actor, a Sri Lankan citizen, had received gifts worth over Rs 5 crore from Chandrashekar, despite knowing that it was from the proceeds of the crime.
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“Sukesh Chandrasekhar had given various gifts worth Rs 5.71 crore to Jacqueline Fernandez from the proceeds of crime generated by criminal activities including extortion. Chandrasekhar 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.
In April, the ED had already attached assets worth Rs 7 crore of the actor under the PMLA. Apart from these gifts, it is further alleged that family members of Fernandez had received “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) out of the proceeds of crime through co-accused Avtar Singh Kochhar, an established and well known international hawala operator.” Fernandez had received a horse worth Rs 52 lakh and a Persian cat worth Rs 9 lakh, the agency claimed.
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The ED said that the investigation further revealed that Chandrashekar had “delivered cash to the tune of Rs 15 lakh to a script writer on behalf of Fernandez as advance for writing a script of her web series project.”
At least eight people, including Chandrashekhar and his wife Leena Maria Paul, have been arrested in connection with the extortion and money-laundering case so far.