NEW DELHI: Actor Jacqueline Fernandez has said she was conned and manipulated by Sukesh Chandrasekhar and asked the authorities to release her assets attached by the Enforcement Directorate. The 36-year-old actor who was charged under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act said she could, at best, be accused of having received gifts from Sukesh Chandrasekhar.
In April this year, ED ordered provisional attachment of her fixed deposits worth ₹7.2 crore. Last week, ED also filed a charge sheet against the actor, accusing her of laundering proceeds of crime.
In her reply to a notice issued following the provisional attachment order before the appellate authority of PMLA in New Delhi, Jacqueline Fernandez said: “Just because she is (a) recipient of certain gifts which were forced on her for forming a connect, can’t be used to ignore the fact which the record otherwise clearly shows that she was conned by Sukesh Chandrasekhar. The approach of ED, unfortunately, seems to be highly mechanical and motivated, hence, blinded towards the fact that respondent (Jacqueline) has lost more than what can be measured in money”.
HT has reviewed her response filed through lawyer Prashant Patil on August 22.
Asserting that she was a victim of manipulation, for which the ED should take a humane approach, Jacqueline has said “what she has lost and suffered as a woman cannot be calculated in monetary terms”.
About the FDs attached by ED, the actor said these were created through reinvestment of maturity proceeds of already existing FDs and “was her professionally earned income generated through blood and sweat and working in the industry for so long”.
Jacqueline also accused ED of malafide. “What is surprising is that like the respondent (Jacqueline), some other celebrities, notably Norah Fatehi was also conned by Chandrasekhar and Fatehi and other such celebrities who received gifts from the accused, are made witnesses whereas she is sought to be dragged as an accused. This clearly shows a malafide, motivated and biased approach on the part of investigation authority which cannot be ignored,” the actor added.
She said she was lured into forming a connect with Chandrasekhar, but never abetted his activities.
To lure her, Jacqueline says, Chandrasekhar used Pinki Irani alias Angel (another accused) to connect with her and claimed himself to be the “nephew of Jayalalitha (former chief minister of Tamil Nadu) and owns Sun TV”.
Claiming that Chandrasekhar insisted on showering her with gifts despite her repeated refusals, the Sri Lankan citizen, who moved to India to work in Bollywood, said “he would just go on rampage and if not accepted by the respondent, he would just instruct his men to leave the gifts with the watchmen or outside the gate”, adding that she never had an opportunity to check the source of these gifts.
Pointing to ED’s charges against Chandrasekhar, who allegedly cheated the rich of ₹200 crore by impersonating an influential person having political connections including in the Union home ministry, Jacqueline said: “the conduct of accepting gifts from a person who had impersonated himself makes her a victim and maximum a prosecution witness”.
ED hasn’t commented on her response.
Chandrasekhar, currently lodged in Tihar prison, had given several expensive gifts including three designer bags from Gucci and 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 other than a Mini Cooper car to Fernandez, which she said she had returned.
He was arrested by the Delhi Police in April 2017 in the Election Commission (EC) bribery case where it was alleged that he took money from AIADMK (Amma) leader T T V Dhinakaran to bribe EC officials in connection with a dispute over the AIADMK’s “two leaves” poll symbol.
While at Tihar jail, he spoofed calls to dupe people by impersonating various senior government officers from different key departments of the Government of India.
Adopting the spoof-calls modus operandi, he contacted Aditi Singh, wife of former Ranbaxy promoter Shivinder Mohan Singh, in 2020 posing as union home secretary, union law secretary, an officer from Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), and extorted more than ₹200 crore from her over a period of one year on the pretext of contribution to party funds.