The ED on Sunday stopped actor Jacqueline Fernandez at the Mumbai airport preventing her from flying abroad, stating that she may be required to join an ongoing money laundering investigation against alleged conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar and others, officials said. The 36-year-old actor was first stopped by the immigration authorities at the airport on the basis of a Look Out Circular (LoC) issued by the federal probe agency, they said.
Agency sleuths then reached the Mumbai airport and disallowed her travel, asking her to remain in the country as she may be required to join the probe, they added. It is understood that she was either travelling to Dubai or Muscat and after she was stopped, she left the airport around 6 pm.
The Sri Lankan-origin actor was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in multiple sessions in connection with the over Rs 200 crore money laundering case being probed against Chandrashekhar and his actor wife Leena Maria Paul. The agency on Saturday filed a charge sheet before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in this case and named Chandrashekhar, his wife and six others in it.
It had alleged in the charge sheet that Chandrashekhar had gifted the actor numerous costly gifts, including some Persian cats and a horse. He is accused of cheating some people, including some high-profile individuals such as former Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Mohan Singh's wife Aditi Singh. Another Bollywood actor-dancer, Nora Fatehi, has also been grilled by the ED in this case.
Investigation found that Chandrashekhar was lodged in the Rohini jail here when he allegedly ran an extortion racket using phone spoofing technology. The ED had arrested the couple and two co-accused, Pradeep Ramnani and Deepak Ramnani, in this case.
In August, the ED raided some of Chandrashekhar's premises and seized a sea-facing bungalow in Chennai, Rs 82.5 lakh in cash and over a dozen luxury cars. It had claimed in a statement that Chandrashekhar is a "known conman" and is being probed by the Delhi Police in a case of alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating and extortion to the tune of about Rs 200 crore.
"Chandrasekhar is the mastermind of this fraud. He has been part of the crime world since the age of 17. He has multiple FIRs against him...," the ED had said. Despite being in the jail, it said, Chandrashekhar "did not stop conning" people, the ED said.
"He (using a cellphone procured illegally in prison) with the help of technology, made spoofed calls to dupe people as the numbers displayed on the called party's phone number belonged to senior government officers. While speaking (from prison) to these persons, he claimed to be a government officer offering to help people for a price," the ED had claimed. Chandrasekhar and Paul were also arrested by the Delhi Police.
The police recently invoked the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the case. The Delhi Police had alleged that Paul and Chandrashekhar, along with others, used Hawala routes, created shell companies to park the money earned from proceeds of crime.