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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Explained: Who is Leena Maria Paul, the small-time actor ‘involved’ in several fraud cases?

Leena Maria Paul had essayed a minor role in Shoojit Sircar's 'Madras Cafe' as a Tamil rebel.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 9, 2021 1:40:11 pm
leena maria paul, malayalam actress leena maria paul, Leena Maria Paul fraud, who is Leena Maria Paul, Sukesh Chandrasekar, leena maria paul actress, madras cafe actress, cheating case leena paul, fraud leena paul, indian expressLeena Paul was arrested on Sunday under MCOCA in a Rs 200 crore extortion racket involving Sukesh Chandrasekar. (File photo)

Leena Maria Paul, a small-time actor who had essayed a minor role in Shoojit Sircar’s ‘Madras Cafe’ as a Tamil rebel, has managed to create headlines over the years. On Monday, a Delhi Court granted Delhi Police 15-day custody of the Malayalam actor.

Paul began her career with Mohanlal-starrer ‘Red Chillies’ (2009) and has since then appeared in several films like ‘Husbands in Goa’ (2012), ‘Cobra’ (2012) and ‘Biriyani’ (2013). According to a news report, she had trained to be a dentist in Bengaluru, but later quit to pursue her love for cinema. However, more than for her work, she has garnered attention for her alleged involvement in several fraud cases along with her partner, Sukesh Chandrasekar.

Paul was arrested on Sunday under MCOCA in a Rs 200-crore extortion racket involving Chandrasekar, who is accused of allegedly taking the money from former Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Singh’s wife Aditi Singh. Chandrashekhar, an accused in the infamous Election Commission (EC) bribery case, is currently lodged in the Rohini jail of the national capital. His two associates worked at his behest from outside.

Chandrasekar allegedly acted as the middleman for AIADMK leader T T V Dinakaran, who reportedly tried to bribe an EC official to obtain the party’s two-leaves poll symbol for the Sasikala faction.

Scams and multiple arrests

Paul was earlier arrested in 2013, along with Chandrasekar, for allegedly cheating a Chennai bank of Rs 19 crore. While initially, Chandrasekar had escaped arrest, a week later, he too was caught. During Paul’s arrest, the police had recovered nine expensive cars and 81 expensive wrist watches.

The police at the time had stated that Chandrasekar often posed as the grandson of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and duped several people across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh of more than Rs 15 crore, promising them government contracts.

However, the duo secured bail and relocated to Mumbai. In 2015, the couple was again arrested from Goregaon along with two associates, for their alleged involvement in a scam to the tune of Rs 10 crore.

“We received information that a group of individuals was convincing people to pay anything between Rs 5000 and Rs 5 lakh, promising that they would get at least 20 per cent returns on their investments every month. They even promised as high as 300 per cent returns. Our information indicated that they planned to flee the city within a few days, and we arrested them,” then Joint Commissioner of Police (EOW) had said.

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In December 2018, Paul again grabbed headlines due to a shootout at her beauty parlour in Kochi. Notorious underworld don Ravi Suliya Pujari, arrested in 2019, was said to be involved in the high-profile case.

The actress maintains that she isn’t involved in any of the cases. On Monday, her defence 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.”

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