The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has told the Delhi High Court that Bollywood actor Jacqueline Fernandez, accused in a Rs 200 crore money laundering case, was knowingly involved in the possession and use of proceeds of crime of alleged conman Sukesh Chandrasekhar, news agency PTI reported.
The probe agency alleged that evidence showed that the actor "had been enjoying, using and was in possession of the proceeds of crime" of Sukesh Chandrasekhar.
This contention by the ED was made in an affidavit filed in response to Jacqueline Fernandez's plea that sought the cancellation of an FIR lodged against her in the money laundering case.
The matter was listed before Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri and Jacqueline Fernandez's counsel sought time to file a reply in response to the ED's contention. The matter will be next heard by the High Court on April 15.
In its reply, the ED claimed that Jacqueline Fernandez "held back the truth till date" regarding the financial transactions with Sukesh Chandrasekhar and concealed facts until confronted with evidence, PTI reported.
"She continues to hold back the truth even till date. It is also a fact that Fernandez wiped out the entire data from her mobile phone after the arrest of Sukesh Chandrasekhar, thereby tampering with the evidence. She also asked her colleagues to destroy the evidence. Evidence proves beyond doubt that she had been enjoying, using and is in possession of the proceeds of crime," the probe agency said.
Thus, it is proved that Fernandez was knowingly involved in the possession and use of proceeds of crime of accused Chandrasekhar," it claimed.
The actor, the ED alleged, attempted to cover up her conduct by stating she was a victim of Sukesh Chandrasekhar, but was not able to furnish any substantial evidence to establish her claim.
Jacqueline Fernandez was aware of the conman's criminal intentions but still, she continued to receive, enjoy and possess proceeds of crime for herself and her family members, the ED said.
It further claimed that the actor did not initially admit to receiving huge amounts of money and valuable gifts for her family by Sukesh Chandrasekhar. The agency stated that these luxury gifts were proceeds of crime being generated out of criminal activity.
According to the ED, Jacqueline Fernandez was "well aware" about Sukesh Chandrasekhar's criminal antecedents and continued to have a relationship with him despite the fact that Leena Maria Paul was the conman's wife.
Despite being aware of the conman's marital status, she continued to receive financial benefits from him, which amounted to proceeds of crime, the probe agency said.
In her plea filed through her counsel, Jacqueline Fernandez said, "At the outset, it is submitted that evidence filed by the ED would prove that the petitioner (Fernandez) is an innocent victim of Chandrasekhar's maliciously targeted attack."
"There is absolutely no indication that she had any involvement whatsoever in aiding him to launder his purportedly ill-gotten wealth. Hence, she cannot be prosecuted for the offences under Sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act," it said.
It said the prosecution complaint filed against her confirmed that nowhere it has been alleged that she had knowledge about the nefarious activities of Chandrasekhar in extorting money from complainant Aditi Singh, PTI reported.
"The entire complaint is silent about even a remote allegation of knowledge as attributed to the petitioner. It is impossible to suggest that the petitioner knowingly engaged in any of the activities that is today punished by Section 3 of the PMLA," the plea added.
The actor alleged that the ED acted in a partisan manner while arraigning her as an accused in the money laundering case.
“The ED has given a clean chit to Nora Fatehi (another Bollywood actor) despite it being an admitted fact on record that her family member received a BMW car from Sukesh Chandrasekhar on her instructions. It is of importance to note that the fact of Nora Fatehi receiving gifts from Sukesh Chandrasekhar has been presented to ED under the head ‘dissipation of proceeds of crime’,” her plea said.
Jacqueline Fernandez has appeared before the ED for questioning in the money laundering investigation against Sukesh Chandrasekhar and others.
An FIR was registered by the Delhi Police against Sukesh Chandrasekhar for allegedly duping the spouses of former promoters of Ranbaxy -- Shivinder Singh and Malvinder Singh -- of Rs 200 crore.
The conman and his wife were arrested by the Delhi Police, along with others, and the ED registered a money laundering case against them.
The Delhi Police had alleged that Sukesh Chandrasekhar and his wife used hawala routes and created shell companies to park the money earned as proceeds of crime.