The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday attached actress Jacqueline Fernandez's assets worth ₹7.27 crore — terming them as "proceeds of crime"— in the money laundering probe involving conman Sukesh Chandrasekhar.
"During investigation, it was revealed that Sukesh Chandrasekhar had given various gifts worth ₹5.71 crore to Jacqueline Fernandez from the proceeds of crime generated by criminal activities including extortion. He had put Pinky Irani, his longtime associate and co-accused in this case to deliver the said gifts to the actress," the ED said in a statement.
"In addition to these gifts, he had also given funds to the tune of $ 1,72,913 and AUD 26,740 to the close family members of Jacqueline Fernandez through co-accused Avtar Singh Kochhar, an established and well known international hawala operator," the statement read.
The conman is currently lodged in a Delhi prison.The assets attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) include fixed deposits worth ₹7.12 crore and ₹15 lakh cash.
The 36-year-old actress was examined by the ED in August last year in the case.
As per reports, Chandrasekhar had gifted her several expensive items, 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, a bracelet of multi-coloured stones, two Hermes bracelets and a Mini Cooper car, which she said she had returned.
As per the ED report, the conman had paid ₹15 lakh, in cash, to a script writer on behalf of Fernandez as an advance for her web series project.
During her questioning, the actress did admit receiving expensive gifts from the conman and going on holidays in private jets, however, she claimed that she never participated in any illicit financial deals with him.
Chandrasekhar was arrested by the Delhi Police in April 2017 in the infamous election commission (EC) bribery case where it was alleged that he took money from AIADMK (Amma) leader T T V Dhinakaran to bribe the EC officials in connection with a dispute over the AIADMK "two leaves" poll symbol.
While lodged in Tihar jail, he allegedly called people impersonating as a senior government officer from key departments of central government, an official privy to the matter said.
Adopting the spoof-call modus operandi, he contacted Aditi Singh, wife of former Ranbaxy promoter Shivinder Mohan Singh, in 2020 posing as Union home secretary, union law secretary, officer from Prime Minister's Office (PMO), etc and extorted more than ₹200 crore from her over a year, on the pretext of contribution to party funds, ED said on Saturday.
During her examination, Aditi Singh had claimed that she received a call in June 2020 from a man posing as a senior official of the law ministry who offered to help her secure bail for her husband, who was in jail at that time, in return for money.
During raids at his premises in August last year, ED had found properties, including a plush bungalow in Chennai, 26 cars, valuables worth ₹45 crore.