A Delhi court on Thursday reserved its order on the bail application of Bollywood actor Jacqueline Fernandez, who is named as an accused in the 200 crore money laundering case involving conman Sukesh Chandrasekhar for Friday.
The court also asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) why it has not arrested Fernandez despite issuing a Lookout Circular (LOC) against her, while other accused are in jail.
While opposing the bail application of Fernandez, who has been named in the ED supplementary chargesheet that the agency filed in August this year, the financial probe agency argued that she is a flight risk and she can escape the country easily as she is not short of money.
The ED also argued that Fernandez tried to flee the country and didn’t cooperate in the investigation.
Meanwhile, the counsel of Fernandez told the court that she is not a flight risk and she has cooperated in the probe.
While reserving its order on the Bollywood actor’s bail application for Friday at 10 am, the court asked the ED, “Why haven’t you arrested her (Fernandez) yet despite issuing an LOC? Other accused are in jail. Why adopt a pick-and choose policy?”
The ED had issued LOC against the actor earlier this year.
Earlier on October 22, the ED opposed the bail plea filed by the Bollywood actor in connection with Rs 200 crore money laundering case arguing that the Sri Lankan national has “huge stature and influence”.
The ED in its application while opposing her bail had said that it is a very genuine and reasonable apprehension of the prosecution that mere presence of the applicant at large shall intimate the witnesses not to disclose any information regarding the ill-gotten money or money laundered by Fernandez or the layering of the proceeds of crime. “It is respectfully submitted that the applicant is not an ordinary person but a Bollywood actress having huge financial resources and hence has a high stature and influence in the society,” ED said.
It had also said that it is significant to mention that Fernandez has “never cooperated” with the investigation and only when confronted with evidence and statements, she had made disclosure.
The ED told the court that she initially did not admit to the fact that she received both money and gifts and transferred it to her parents, brothers and sisters which had been otherwise established during investigation.
“The applicant (Fernandez) possesses a high flight risk as she is a citizen of Sri Lanka and it is a genuine and reasonable apprehension of the prosecution that she will most likely not cooperate with this court just like she didn’t cooperate with the respondent (ED) during investigation and made an abortive bid to flee away from India,” the ED had said.
The financial probe agency opposing the bail plea of the actor had also said that joining the investigation is one thing and cooperating with the investigation is another.
“The allegations against Fernandez are grave and serious in nature and there is ample evidence on record to substantiate the same.
“She not only used and enjoyed the proceeds of crime (POC) herself but also shared the proceeds of crime (POC) with her family members staying abroad while very well knowing that the money/gifts showered by the accused Sukesh Chandrasekhar is nothing but proceeds of crime. That an amount of Rs 7.12 crore has been identified till now as proceeds of crime. Initially she had denied that Chandrasekhar sent money to the tune of Rs 15 lakh to Advaita Kala on her behalf despite being confronted with evidence on record on August 30 last year but on October 20 last year Fernandez admitted the transactions,” the ED had said.
“Fernandez further admitted to tampering of evidence by way of deleting data on her phone and informing others to do the same,” the agency had alleged.
The ED had also said that Fernandez was “never a victim”.
Fernandez was granted interim bail on September 26.
The ED probe revealed that the actress knew of the criminal past of conman Chandrasekhar. The ED also said that the Sri Lankan actress continued to indulge in financial transactions with Chandrasekhar despite knowing about his criminal past.
The ED is investigating the money trail in a Rs 200 crore extortion case against the conman. A Special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Delhi, on September 1 took cognizance of the ED chargesheet filed against Fernandez earlier this month.
The Bollywood actress is the only person named in the ED supplementary chargesheet filed in August this year.
Chandrasekhar was arrested by the Delhi Police for allegedly extorting around Rs 215 crore from Aditi Singh and Shivender Singh, former promoters of pharmaceutical giant Ranbaxy.
ED had attached properties of Fernandez worth Rs 7.27 crore in connection with a money-laundering probe involving conman Chandrasekhar in April this year.