How Sukesh Chandrashekhar coaxed Bollywood stars Jacqueline Fernandez, Nora Fatehi

With a supporting solid of 12 bodyguards and an costly automobile fitted with a crimson beacon, he turned a Tamil Nadu politician’s son. He walked into Taj Connemara in Chennai, brimming with confidence, solely to cease in his tracks as he noticed Leena Paulose alias Leena Maria for the primary time in 2010.

Skilled as a dentist, Leena nursed ambitions of changing into an actor. Recent off in a minor function within the Mohanlal-starrer Crimson Chillies (2009), she was impressed with Sukesh and his entourage. They started relationship and the primary seven months, their relationship hurtled forward at breakneck velocity. She was rubbing shoulders with the Chennai elite, well-known actors and entertainers. Then someday, Sukesh vanished. All she received was a machine telling her that his cellphone was switched off.

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A Class X dropout, Sukesh was born and raised in a middle-class household in Bhawani Nagar, Bengaluru. His father Vijayan Chandrashekhar, a part-time contractor allegedly duped a kitchen tools supplier in 2010, with Sukesh’s assist. He was arrested for the crime, and has handed away just lately. Sukesh moved on to attempt his luck within the real-estate sector, and in flip discovered himself on the centre of the car-racing scene in Bengaluru the place he “started seeing goals of changing into a millionaire”.

For the subsequent 10 years, Sukesh, 33, would make grandiose entrances posing because the son of highly effective south-Indian politicians, charming his means into the lives of Bollywood actresses, courting them with luxurious vehicles, goodies, flowers and Franck Muller watches.

His first brush with crime started in 2017, after he allegedly cheated a Bengaluru-based resident of Rs 1.5 crore, with the promise of getting his land acquired by the Banglore Growth Authority and creating an condominium with international funding. He would face a string of allegations over the subsequent two years, together with impersonating Karnataka politician Karunakaran Reddy’s son, duping a number of individuals beneath the pretext of promoting them luxurious vehicles.

In the meantime, Leena had learnt that Sukesh was lodged in Madurai jail in a dishonest case. When she met him for the primary time in jail, he revealed his true identify — Sukesh. Till then, she thought his identify was Balaji. 5 months later, Sukesh was launched from jail and the couple moved to Bengaluru. Whereas Leena travelled for her shoots, Sukesh made journeys to Mumbai, boasting of creating contacts with high Bollywood actors. Leena has featured in a number of movies together with a Malayalam comedy Husbands in Goa (2012), Tamil thriller Biriyani (2013) and John Abraham-starrer Madras Cafe (2013).

Quickly although, Sukesh and Leena would “run an organised crime syndicate”, the ED chargesheet acknowledged. The couple tied the knot in 2014. They’d pose as an IAS officer and his secretary allegedly duping individuals beneath the pretext of promoting authorities contracts and launching ponzi schemes.

By 2013-14, the couple had moved in collectively at Imperial Heights, Goregaon, Mumbai. However unknown to Leena, Sukesh had purchased a separate condominium in the identical constructing and was additionally “operating parallel auditions for different actresses”. Sukesh then shifted to Delhi, since authorized instances towards him had been mounting.

On the Nationwide Investigation Company (NIA) court docket in Delhi’s Patiala Home in 2021, Sukesh confronted different allegations. This included extorting Rs 217 crore from Aditi Singh, the spouse of former Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Singh, beneath the pretext of serving to her husband safe bail in a money-laundering case. Aditi had transferred the cash by means of 10 entities owned by her household. She needed to promote her kids’s belongings and take loans from relations. This cash was collected by means of money funds by Sukesh’s aides after which routed by means of 53 shell corporations by means of hawala channels. Investigators have alleged that Leena helped Sukesh eliminate proceeds of the crime by procuring financial institution entries from numerous entities and invested them in high-end vehicles, properties and into different companies.

This case has unleashed a vortex which threatens to destroy the careers of Bollywood actors whose names have cropped up within the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) prosecution grievance (chargesheet) for allegedly having fun with proceeds of the crime. The ED officers consider that Sukesh had not solely funded his extravagant life-style but in addition purchased costly items for these actors by means of the cash he extorted from Aditi. All of the actors have denounced him in court docket.

Actor Jacqueline Fernandez has been accused of accepting items from Sukesh, regardless of understanding his prison historical past. She has now turned a witness on this Financial Offences Wing (EOW) case. Nora Fatehi’s identify got here up within the ED chargesheet after Sukesh tried to reward her a BMW automobile, which was subsequently gifted to her relative. He tried to coax her in some ways, simply in order that she would conform to be in a relationship with him.

Sukesh Chandrashekhar at the Patiala House Court, New Delhi (Credit: Express Archive) Sukesh Chandrashekhar on the Patiala Home Court docket, New Delhi (Credit score: Specific Archive)

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She goes by completely different names — Angel, Aafreen and Alka. Her hair streaked blonde, carrying luxurious sun shades, she boasted a powerful resume — chief monetary officer of Jaya TV and Information Specific, and proprietor of expertise businesses in California, Dubai and Mumbai. Delhi Law enforcement officials declare that she is Pinky Irani, a former TV anchor, who’s accused of introducing actors and fashions, to Sukesh, inside Tihar jail.

Pinky claimed to have been in contact with Sukesh since 2017-18 by means of Instagram. Throughout this time, Sukesh would painting himself as a film producer and wished to open a expertise company. He supplied her the place of chief managing director.

A 100-inch display screen tv virtually as massive because the room was meant to dazzle guests. It was hooked to state-of-the-art devices together with a PlayStation and an Apple Bluetooth speaker. The room was geared up with a settee, recliner, an air conditioner, and a fridge stacked with wads of forex notes. Court docket data additionally present that Rolex watches had been neatly laid out on a desk together with Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Hermes luggage.

On the centre of all of it, draped in costly garments and watches stood Sukesh, now taking part in the a part of the proprietor of a south-Indian channel, promoting goals of manufacturing OTT reveals to actors, who had been allegedly introduced by Pinky contained in the jail premises. Sukesh informed her to introduce him as one in all India’s highly effective fixers, with a web price of US$ 10 billion. Pinky turned Sukesh’s “private shopper”, selecting up luggage from Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes, costly jewelry, flowers, garments, goodies, watches, a horse harness, saddle and a whip, the ED chargesheet acknowledged.

The ED supplementary chargesheet states that Sukesh had arrange an workplace contained in the jail premises. It additionally named three actors who met Sukesh in jail — Chahatt Khanna, Nikki Tamboli and Sophia Singh. They had been flown in from Mumbai and chauffeured in a BMW automobile from the Delhi airport to Tihar jail by Pinky. Chahatt, who featured in The Movie (2005) and Ek Principal Ek Tum (2005) and a tv collection Bade Acche Lagte Hain (2011), was informed Sukesh was “the proprietor of a south-Indian channel” and “youthful brother to politician Jayalalithaa”. Although these actors discovered it unsettling that the “workplace” was in Tihar jail, Pinky assured them that this was “a bureaucrat cell and he was formally allowed to satisfy individuals”.

When Chahatt walked into his first-floor workplace in Tihar, she noticed Sukesh surrounded by gaming consoles, digital devices and Hermes luggage. He then claimed to make cellphone calls to Bollywood actors “boasting about his connections”. Sukesh claimed he had tapped her husband’s cellphone, knew about his whereabouts after which proposed to her. “He proposed to me to get married to him and stated that my life could be means higher,” Chahatt informed the ED. She was given Rs 2 lakh in money and a blue Versace look ahead to assembly him.

In the meantime Nikki, who appeared in a number of Telugu motion pictures and was a participant within the actuality present Large Boss, met Sukesh in April 2018. He informed her that he was married, was a “massive man and an enormous producer” after which started boasting that he “had over 100 girlfriends”. The second time they met, Sukesh requested her to replace her bio on Instagram to “in a relationship” and put up an image of a bag he gifted her. The ED chargesheet claims she acquired round Rs 3.5 lakh for assembly him.

Sophia was approached by Pinky, claiming that Sukesh wished to signal her for a “massive banner south-Indian movie”. Identified for roles in Ae Kaash Ke Hum (2020) and 22 Days (2018), she first met Sukesh in Might 2018. As she walked into the workplace in Tihar she noticed two police officers standing guard. Inside, Sukesh, who sported a cropped haircut and a beard, promised to signal her up for a movie. She was given Rs 3.5 lakh and a Louis Vuitton bag for assembly him twice. In these conferences, Sukesh satisfied the ladies that he was in jail over a political rivalry and could be launched on bail quickly.

Court docket data present that Sukesh had additionally tried to ship items to different Bollywood actors — Janhvi Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan and Bhumi Pednekar.

Janhvi, by means of her authorised consultant, stated that she was by no means contacted by Sukesh or Pinky. Nevertheless, she was contacted by Leena, who requested her to inaugurate her salon in Bengaluru on 19 July, 2021. Janhvi acquired a fee of Rs 18.94 lakh as skilled charges. On the day of the occasion, she was gifted a Christian Dior bag by Leena’s mom, she informed the ED. Sara too, stated that she didn’t know anybody by the identify of Sukesh, however “somebody beneath the identify of Suraj Reddy did WhatsApp her on 21 Might, 2021, whereby he stated that he wish to reward her a automobile as a household gesture.” Whereas she refused items from him, she did agree on a field of goodies, which got here with a Franck Muller watch.

Pinky had contacted Bhumi too, who submitted to the ED that from January to July, 2021, Pinky posed because the vice-president (human useful resource) of Information Specific. She was informed that her group’s chairman (Sukesh) “was a fan and wished to talk along with her about an enormous venture and in addition wished to reward her a automobile.” Bhumi denied receiving any items from Sukesh or any private interplay.

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Jacqueline, a former Sri Lankan magnificence queen, started her stint in Bollywood with the 2009-film Aladin. In it, the primary lead Ritesh Deshmukh takes the assistance of a genie to impress Jacqueline, who performed the function of a foreign-exchange pupil. She would go on to bag massive tasks, getting a chance to work with a number of high-profile stars. So it was no shock that she refused to take calls from Sukesh, who posed as Shekhar Ratna Vela, “her largest fan”. He stored calling her from December 2020 to January 2021.

Her make-up artist Shaan Muttathil was approached by Pinky. They met at JW Marriott at Mumbai the place she requested him to introduce Sukesh to Jacqueline, however nothing materialised. A spoofed cellphone name from House Minister Amit Shah’s workplace modified the whole lot. The ED chargesheet claims that Sukesh impersonated the Ministry of House Affairs official, asking Shaan to get in contact with Sukesh, who was a “essential particular person within the authorities”.

Numbers had been exchanged and Jacqueline started talking to Sukesh. He launched himself because the proprietor of Solar TV, “belonging to Jayalalithaa”. He wished to reward her a Bentley. She thought it was a prank and didn’t converse to him for a month. However Sukesh stored pushing, this time claiming he was the proprietor of coal mines, had acquired Kalyan Jewellers, and had labored with the Indian authorities on an arms cope with Russia, the chargesheet acknowledged. Then Sukesh informed Jacqueline that Malabar Jewellers wished to make her their model ambassador. The chargesheet acknowledged that Sukesh despatched Rs 15 lakh to her.

And the items stored coming. Sukesh despatched Jacqueline limited-edition perfumes, Veen Water, flowers, goodies, designer luggage, diamond earrings and bracelets. He as soon as even despatched her a Mini Cooper, which she returned, the investigators stated. In whole, the investigators discovered that Sukesh gifted Jacqueline 5 watches, 20 items of jewelry, 65 pairs of sneakers, 47 clothes objects, 36 luggage, 9 work and a Versace crockery set.

Nevertheless, Valentine’s Day in 2021 was harsh for Sukesh. The ED states that Shaan had shared a information article on Sukesh’s prison historical past with Jacqueline. “Round this time, Sukesh started showering her with items. He had promised Irani Rs 10 crore to kind out variations between them. She (Jacqueline) knew that he had a prison previous and but loved the proceeds of crime. She may have simply verified Sukesh’s claims on Google,” says an ED officer.

Sukesh additionally purchased Jacqueline a horse named Espuela, from Mahalaxmi Racecourse in Mumbai for Rs 57 lakh, and 4 cats. She lastly met him in particular person for the primary time, after he invited her to attend his uncle’s funeral in Chennai in June 2021, and later in July. They spent their time driving across the metropolis as two Vary Rovers filled with 15 bodyguards adopted them. Sukesh additionally organized a non-public jet twice in Kerala and paid for her lodge keep. He additionally donated to her non-public charity. The ED investigators have claimed that Jacqueline acquired Rs 7.12 crore as proceeds of crime from Sukesh. He additionally paid a scriptwriter Rs 15 lakh to put in writing a tv present for her, despatched US $172,913 to her sister within the US to buy a BMW automobile, purchased a Porsche and Maserati for her dad and mom in Bahrain, and despatched 26,740 AUD to her brother in Australia.

Nevertheless, tensions ensued between the 2. Pinky tried to dealer peace between them and received Jacqueline a Tiffany’s diamond ring with the initials J&S on it, the chargesheet stated.

Jacqueline informed the ED that Sukesh turned more and more possessive and started interfering along with her work. She additionally grew suspicious as a result of he by no means launched her to his household. However since Sukesh was initially good to her and her associates, she “was making an attempt to reform him and didn’t wish to choose him on his previous actions.”

Jacqueline’s lawyer Prashant Patil maintains that “reality shall precipitate to the floor” claiming she was conned by Sukesh. Pinky’s lawyer, RK Handoo, asks why his consumer has not been made a witness on this case as she was additionally duped by Sukesh beneath the pretext of an editor’s job.

Sukesh’s lawyer Anant Malik, in the meantime, says that the co-accused are “taking part in the sufferer card” and the allegations are “nothing however irrelevant noise”. Leena’s lawyer stated that the high-end automobile bought was backed by authentic transactions, including, “she has not been in contact along with her household.”

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Presently, DG Prisons Sanjay Beniwal has his work lower out for him. Over 80 jail workers had been booked for taking bribes from Sukesh, when he was lodged in Rohini jail. “Sukesh has the reward of the gab. When you’ve a troublesome buyer like him, one of the simplest ways ahead is to go together with what the regulation says. Our status did take a success as a result of we didn’t do our job correctly. We are attempting to get the system again on monitor,” he says.

He has been busy organising coaching workshops for jail workers, organising raids to clamp down on cell phone use and ironing out loopholes that can be utilized to deprave jail staffers.

Because the case unfolds, Sukesh, who’s lodged at Mandoli Jail, Delhi, alongside along with his spouse, spends most of his time studying newspapers and writing letters to the media.

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