Bollywood’s Jacqueline Fernandez says she too was conned and manipulated by conman Sukesh Chandrasekhar a week after she was named in a charge sheet filed by India’s Directorate of Enforcement (ED) in a money laundering case involving Chandrasekhar. The Sri Lankan actor was charged under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and said, through her lawyer, that the most she could be accused of is receiving gifts from the conman himself.
In April this year, the ED had ordered the provisional attachment of Fernandez’s fixed deposits worth INR 72 million and just a week ago, it filed a charge sheet against her, accusing the Vikrant Rona actor of laundering proceeds of crime.
The Hindustan Times reviewed her response filed through her lawyer Prashant Patil where she 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.”
Asserting that she was manipulated, Fernandez added via her representative, “What she has lost and suffered as a woman cannot be calculated in monetary terms”.
Regarding the INR 72 million fixed deposits, the actor said they were created through the reinvestment of proceeds of already existing fixed deposits and was “her professionally earned income generated through blood and sweat and working in the industry for so long”.
Fernandez also accused the enforcement of malafide intentions. “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 mala fide, motivated and biased approach on the part of investigation authority which cannot be ignored,” the actor added.
She revealed that she was lured into forming connection with the alleged conman Chandrasekhar but never abetted his activities. While giving her statement, she revealed that to lure her in, Chandrasekhar used Pinki Irani alias Angel, another accused, to connect with her and claimed himself to be the nephew of the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu and someone who owns Sun TV.
In addition to her claim that the conman “insisted” on showering her with multiple gifts despite her refusing to accept any, the Sri Lankan citizen said that the conman would go on a rampage and if his gifts were not accepted or she did not respond, he would instruct his men to leave the gifts with a watchman outside her gate. She added that she never had the opportunity to check the source of these gifts that arrived at her doorstep.
Pointing towards the charges against Chandrasekhar, who allegedly cheated the rich of INR 2 billion by impersonating an influential person with political connections and a company of his own, Fernandez said, “The conduct of accepting gifts from a person who had impersonated himself makes her a victim and maximum a prosecution witness.”
India’s ED has yet to response to the comments made by the Bachchhan Paandey actor.
According to the publication, the conman is currently at the Tihar prison and had given a lot of expensive gifts to Fernandez, including designer bags from Gucci and Chanel, two gym outfits from an Italian high-end brand, a pair of Louis Vuitton shoes and two pairs of diamond earrings as well as a bracelet, two Hermes bracelets and a Mini Cooper car which she said she had returned.
The conman was arrested by the Delhi police in April 2017 in a bribery case. While he was in prison, Chandrasekhar spoofed calls to dupe people by impersonating senior officials and hence he was able to extort more than INR 2 billion while being jailed.
Fernandez won the Miss Universe pageant in 2006 and debuted as an actor with the Indian film Aladin. Since then she has starred in films such as Housefull 2, Murder 2 and Netflix films Drive and Mrs. Serial Killer. Her most recent work is with Kiccha Sudeep in Vikrant Rona.
She will be next seen in Ram Setu alongside Akshay Kumar and Nushrat Bharucha, and Cirkus with Ranveer Singh, Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and more.