Delhi Court grants bail to Jacqueline Fernandez in PMLA case

 

NEW DELHI : Actor Jacqueline Fernandez was on Tuesday granted bail by a Delhi court in the ₹ 200 crore money laundering case involving conman Sukesh Chandrashekar.Ms Fernandez had sought bail on the ground that there was no need for her custody since the investigation is already complete and the charge sheet has been filed. She is accused of taking expensive gifts from Sukesh despite knowing his criminal antecedents. Special Judge Shailendra Malik of Patiala House Court granted bail to Jacqueline Fernandes. Earlier she was granted interim bail.Ms Fernandez, who was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate several times in connection with the investigation, has been named as an accused for the first time in the supplementary charge sheet.The agency’s earlier charge sheet and a supplementary charge sheet did not mention her as an accused. In its charge sheet, the ED has said the actor knew about the criminal history of Sukesh Chandrashekhar and “consciously chose to overlook” his past. It is clear, the probe agency said, that Jacqueline Fernandez was enjoying the valuables, jewellery and costly gifts as provided by the accused (Sukesh), despite knowing about his criminal antecedents.

“From the statements recorded, it is evident that she consciously chose to overlook his criminal past and continued to indulge in financial transactions with him. Not only her, but her family members and friends have benefited from the relationship,” the chargesheet said. Sukesh, who is currently in jail, has allegedly extorted hundreds of crores by posing as bureaucrats, relatives of politicians, and businessmen. He gave expensive gifts to Fernandez and Canadian actress Nora Fatehi.
The Court had raised questions that why the agency did not arrest her during the investigation. The court had said that the agency arrested some accused while the others were not. “Why this policy of pick and choose?,” the Court questioned. Jacquline’s Counsel senior advocate Siddharth Agarwal and Prashant Patil submitted that the actress cooperated with the investigation and her statement was recovered 5 times.
They also submitted that she was not arrested during the investigation and supplementary charge sheet has been filed and she is also a woman. This proposition ought not to be altered by the court. It was also argued that she was not aware that the gifts she received were out of proceeds of crime. In these circumstances, she is entitled to bail.
Apart from this she is economically sound, she can influence the investigation and win over the witnesses.She possessed, used and enjoyed the proceeds of crime, ED argued. It is the role of the accused. The investigation is still going on, any other may crop up.
ED’s counsel also submitted that she is foreign national and has rootes in Sri Lanka. Her parents living in Bahrin, her brother is living in Australia and sister is in another country. She may flee if she is enlarged on bail.
She can not be granted bail only ground of accused being a woman as she did not cooperated in the investigation. In this circumstances she may not be granted bail, ED’s counsel submitted. Earlier, she was granted interim bail in the matter by the trial court. The Additional Sessions Judge earlier issued notice to ED on Jacqueline regular bail petition, granted interim bail to her till the pendency of regular bail petition.
On August 17, 2022, a supplementary chargesheet was filed by the Enforcement Directorate in the Rs 200 crore extortion case against conman Sukesh Chandrashekar in a Delhi Court mentioned the name of Bollywood actor Jacqueline Fernandez as an accused.
(bureau Report6 with Media inputs).

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