Actor Jacqueline Fernandez appears before ED on day 2

The agency suspects she is a “beneficiary” of the proceeds.

Actor Jacqueline Fernandez appeared before the Enforcement Directorate here on Thursday for the second consecutive day in connection with a money laundering investigation involving alleged conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar and others.

The 36-year-old actor had spent about eight hours at the agency’s office on Wednesday as she was questioned and her statement was recorded in multiple sessions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The agency is continuing with the questioning on Thursday, official sources said.

Fernandez has been grilled by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) at least twice early this year in this case during which she was also confronted with Chandrshekhar.

The agency suspects she is a "beneficiary" of the proceeds of crime allegedly generated by Chandrashekhar after coning and extorting money from some high-profile people.

An associate of the actor was also grilled by the agency on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the actor had earlier said she was testifying before the agency as a witness.

"Jacqueline Fernandez is being called to testify as a witness by the ED. She has duly recorded her statements and in future will also be completely cooperating with the agency in the investigations.

"Jacqueline also categorically denies alleged slanderous statements made about relationship with the involved couple," the spokesperson had said in a statement in October.

On December 5, The ED 5 had stopped Fernandez from flying abroad through the Mumbai airport.

It asked her to remain in the country as she may be required to join the probe.

The Sri Lankan-origin actor has been questioned by the ED in multiple sessions in connection with the over ₹ 200 crore money laundering case being probed against Chandrashekhar and his actor wife Leena Maria Paul.

The agency last week also filed a charge sheet before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court here and named Chandrashekhar, his wife and six others.

It had alleged in the charge sheet that Chandrashekhar claimed that he gifted Fernandez numerous costly gifts, including some Persian cats and a horse.

The questioning of the actor is being undertaken to corroborate these claims of Chandrashekhar and to find if she was a beneficiary of the laundered money and to establish her role in this money trail.

He is accused of cheating some rich people, including individuals like 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 while he was lodged in the Rohini jail here allegedly ran an extortion racket using phone spoofing technology, according to officials.

The ED had arrested the couple and two co-accused, Pradeep Ramnani and Deepak Ramnani, in this case.

In August, the agency raided some of Chandrashekhar’s premises and seized a sea-facing bungalow in Chennai, ₹ 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 ₹ 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.

"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.

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