Investigators claim actor Jacqueline Fernandez tried to flee India after being named in a Rs 200-crore extortion case, but the alleged kingpin, Sukesh Chandrashekhar, has released a letter defending her.
“It's very, very unfortunate that Jacqueline has been made an accused in the PMLA (money laundering) case,” he said in a handwritten letter for the media, released through his lawyer.
“We were in a relationship and if I have given her and her family gifts, what is their fault… She never asked me for anything except loving her and standing by her,” he wrote.
He claimed that “every single penny” he spent on them was “earned through legitimate sources of income”, adding that the case against him is “a mask to a larger conspiracy”. He reiterated his claim that he would contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, and "win hands down".
The Enforcement Directorate has said Ms Fernandez, who has denied any knowledge of his crimes, received luxury cars and other expensive gifts such as designer handbags from Sukesh Chandrashekhar.
“I received four bags from Gucci, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, three shoes from Louis Vuitton and Louboutin, two outfits from Gucci, perfumes, four cats, a Mini Cooper, two diamond earrings, a multi-coloured diamond bracelet,” she told the probe officers, the ED has said.
ED sources have said she got gifts worth Rs 10 crore, which included a horse worth Rs 52 lakh and a Persian cat worth Rs 9 lakh. In April, the probe agency attached the actor's assets worth over Rs 7 crore to the case as "proceeds of crime"
The two claimed to have met only twice in Chennai and have mostly been in touch over telephone for around six months. The dates they gave of their interactions did not match, though.
Today Ms Fernandez, who is on interim bail, appeared for a regular bail plea hearing in a Delhi court, where the investigators said she knew about Sukesh Chandrasekhar's involvement in criminal cases and that he was married, but she overlooked that to make financial transactions with him.
Her lawyers said she hadn't got any document from the Enforcement Directorate, after which the court told the ED to do so. The case will be heard next on November 10.
Opposing her plea, the ED alleged she tampered with evidence during investigation by deleting data from her mobile phone. The agency also said that she has not been cooperating with the investigators. She wanted to leave India, but could not do so as her name was on the "lookout circular", or the list of people to be stopped from fleeing the country, the ED said in the court document.
Sukesh Chandrashekhar, who is jailed in Delhi, allegedly cheated many high-profile people by posing as a government officer, among other impersonations.
Another actor, Nora Fatehi, has been questioned about gifts she allegedly got from Sukesh Chandrashekhar.