A Delhi court on Monday granted interim bail to actor Jacqueline Fernandez in a Rs 200 crore money laundering case involving alleged conman Sukesh Chandrashekar.
The court also sought a response from Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the regular bail plea of the actor who claimed to herself a victim of circumstances.
Special Judge Shailender Malik granted Fernandez interim relief on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and posted the matter for further hearing on October 22.
In her regular bail plea, Fernandez, a citizen of Sri Lanka, said that she was a tax-paying resident of India since 2009 and her professional reputation and future work commitments were intrinsically linked to the country.
The actor said that she had consistently appeared before the investigating agency as and when summoned and her statements under the relevant section of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) were recorded five times.
In terms of the permission granted to her by the court, she travelled abroad and remained compliant with all terms and conditions, the plea said.
As the agency took a conscious decision not to arrest her, she ought not to be remanded to custody at the instance of the court, the plea said.
The plea further said that she was acquainted with Sukesh Chandrashekhar for the first time in January 2021, and was herself a victim of circumstances.
The material on record would establish that the applicant was similarly targeted by the said Sukesh Chandrashekhar and she did not play any role in assisting the said accused to launder his alleged ill-gotten wealth, the plea said.
In fact, she was another victim of the criminal acts committed by the main accused Sukesh Chandrashekhar, and his associates, who consistently lied about his real identity and exercised undue influence over her personal and professional life either by showering her (and her family) with expensive gifts or claiming that he had done so, without ever mentioning their source, the plea said.
However, she did not demand any gifts, nor had knowledge that these were proceeds of crime, on account of the deceitful and duplicitous conduct of the main accused, the plea added.
The plea further said that she was misled into accepting the alleged gifts and attachment proceedings regarding these had already commenced.
Pursuant to the proceedings, the agency had attached her Fixed Deposits of over Rs 7.12 crore, the plea said.
A prosecution complaint for money laundering offences cannot be a natural consequence following attachment proceedings, the plea said.
While she has answered all questions put to her and provided documents and material to the agency, it appeared that some of this information was not placed on record along with the present supplementary complaint by the agency, the plea added.
For the grant of regular bail, her case was on a different footing as compared to the rest of the accused, and the investigation against Fernandez was complete, the plea said.
Earlier, on August 31, the court had taken cognizance of a supplementary charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate and asked Fernandez to appear before the court.
Fernandez, who was summoned by ED several times in connection with the investigation, was named as an accused for the first time in the supplementary charge sheet.
ED's earlier charge sheet and supplementary charge sheet did not mention her as an accused.
The documents, however, had mentioned the details of the statements recorded by Fernandez and fellow actor Nora Fatehi.
According to ED, Fernandez and Fatehi, who were examined, had received luxury cars and other expensive gifts from Chandrashekar.
ED stated Fernandez's statements were recorded on August 30 and October 20, 2021, where she admitted to having received gifts from Chandrashekar.
Statements of Fatehi were recorded on September 13 and October 14, 2021, and she also acknowledged having received gifts from the alleged conman and his actor wife Leena Paulose.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Subscribe to Business Standard Premium
Exclusive Stories, Curated Newsletters, 26 years of Archives, E-paper, and more!