The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday said it has “seized” a sea-facing bungalow in Chennai, Rs 82.5 lakh cash, and over a dozen luxurious cars in connection with a money laundering case against Sukesh Chandrashekar, accused in an alleged multi-crore extortion racket.
It took the action after raiding multiple premises of Sukesh Chandrashekhar, also an accused in the Election Commission (EC) bribery case, along with those of his alleged associate and vice president of the RBL Bank identified as Komal Poddar.
The money laundering case of the agency is based on an FIR of the Delhi Police’s economic offences wing (EOW) against him and others.
“The ED has seized a luxurious beachfront bungalow located in Chennai, Rs 82.5 lakhs cash, two kg gold, 16 luxurious cars, and other high-end items in the Sukesh Chandrasekhar case,” the agency said in a Twitter post.
It later said in a statement that Sukesh 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 Rs 200 crore.
“Sukesh Chandrasekhar is the mastermind of this fraud. He has been a part of the crime world since the age of 17. He has multiple FIRs against him and is presently lodged at the Rohini jail,” the ED said in the statement.
Despite being in the jail, it said, Sukesh Chandrashekhar “did not stop conning” people.
“He (with a cellphone procured illegally in the 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,” it said.
“While speaking (from the prison) to these persons, he claimed to be a government officer offering to help people for a price,” the ED claimed.
It said raids were recently conducted in the case and Poddar was also covered.
“Poddar was working as a conduit for the transfer of funds to Sukesh and has also cheated the complainant,” the statement said.
“During the search at the residential premises of Komal Poddar, unexplained money to the tune of Rs 82.50 lakh and 24-carat gold bars weighing two Kg have been seized,” it said.
The ED said raids were also conducted against Sukesh Chandrashekhar’s wife Leena Maria Paul, who is a “small-time” actress in Malayalam films and has also done some small roles in Hindi movies like Madras Cafe.
During the searches, it said, a hidden location of Paul was detected and it was found that this property — a lavish bungalow in Chennai — is a “benami property” of Sukesh Chandrashekhar and Paul.
“Sukesh Chandrashekhar led a lavish life in this bungalow in Chennai which is no less than a resort and has various luxury cars including BMW, Range Rover, and Mercedes. The house is a luxurious sea-facing with home theatre and a fleet of cars and servants,” the ED said.
“Numerous shoes, shades, bags, and clothes were recovered during the searches,” it said.
The ED said shoes included those from renowned brands such as Ferragamo, Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton and bags of the same brands and those from Hermes.
“The rugs in the house were Versace with Italian marble floors, dining table, and expensive furniture,” the statement said.
“The searches resulted in the seizure of the said bungalow and 16 high-end luxury cars which includes Rolls Royce Ghost, Bentley Bentayga, Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Urus, Escalade, and Mercedes AMG 63,” it said.
Sukesh Chandrashekhar, who is lodged at the Rohini jail of the national capital at present, was recently arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police in this alleged extortion case.
Sukesh Chandrasekhar was lodged in Tihar jail after getting arrested in April 2017 from a hotel here in the EC bribery case.
It was alleged that he took money from AIADMK (Amma) leader T T V Dhinakaran to bribe EC officials in connection with the dispute over the AIADMK ”two leaves” poll symbol.
Sukesh Chandrasekhar had allegedly struck a deal for Rs 50 crore to help the AIADMK (Amma) faction keep the ”two leaves”” symbol. An amount of Rs 1.3 crore was allegedly seized from his possession at the time of his arrest.