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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Extortion case: Delhi court remands Malayalam actor Leena Maria Paul to 15-day police custody

Paul was produced before Additional Sessions Judge Praveen Singh at Patiala House court along with four other persons – two were also sent to 15-day police custody and the other two to five-day police custody.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
Updated: September 7, 2021 8:03:32 am
Leena Paul was arrested in an alleged Rs 200 crore extortion racket involving Sukesh Chandrashekhar, who is accused of allegedly extorting the money from former Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Singh’s wife Aditi Singh | File Photo

A Delhi court granted Delhi Police 15 days custody of Malayalam actor Leena Maria Paul, who featured in the film Madras Cafe, in connection with an MCOCA case. Paul was arrested on Sunday in an alleged Rs 200 crore extortion racket involving Sukesh Chandrashekhar, who is accused of allegedly extorting the money from former Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Singh’s wife Aditi Singh.

Paul was produced before Additional Sessions Judge Praveen Singh at Patiala House court along with four other persons – two were also sent to 15-day police custody and the other two to five-day police custody.

The accused persons will be allowed to attend 15-minute legal interviews every day with their lawyers, medical examination every 48 hours, and their respective lawyers will be informed every time they are taken out of Delhi, the court said.

Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava, who appeared on behalf of police, moved a police remand application seeking 28 days custody of the accused as they had to “investigate hawala transactions and shell companies”. He submitted that the accused persons had to be taken to Kerala, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu for further investigation.

However, ASJ Singh said that if he “grants 28 days police custody in one go, then I will be shirking from my duties.” The court also asked police why they need custody for so long as many of the accused have already been questioned for several days.

“One of the accused is a pick-up boy. What will you do with his custody?” the judge said. To which the AAP said: “He was give tokens by hawala operators.”

“You arrested them yesterday, what have you found till now tell me. It will not work like this that you will say something and I will believe it. I am talking on facts here and you are quoting judgments. What lead do you have in Kerala apart from the fact that you think there was some investment that they made there?” the judge said.

Police submitted that Paul has three salons in Bengaluru, Kochi and Chennai.

The defence lawyers who appeared on behalf of the accused submitted that their clients were not involved in the case. It was submitted that Paul was cooperating with the probe and has been questioned for 10 days by the investigating agency.

Her lawyer argued: “The main accused has been in Tihar jail for so many years. There are two FIRs in this case and there is no role of mine in both cases. All properties she was enjoying, as per prosecution, have been sealed. I have been asked to come to Delhi and join investigation without notice, I did not question that. There must be some grounds for custodial interrogation. I have been questioned for 10 days by both ED and EOW.”

In the FIR, Aditi Singh alleged she was cheated of over Rs 200 crore by a man posing as the “law secretary”, “home secretary” who claimed during one call that a Union Minister was listening in after promising to help with her husband’s case.

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