The Chhattisgarh

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Sleight of Sukesh: The lifetime of a conman

One of many earliest tales of confidence trickery by serial conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar is from his early days in Bengaluru, the place he grew up. Then a 17-year-old, he’s identified to have carried round with him a cast letter of the Bengaluru police commissioner declaring that {the teenager} was eligible to drive automobiles and bikes wherever in Karnataka.

That was in 2006, across the time he dropped out of Class 10. Since then, the boy who appreciated quick automobiles has gone full throttle, pulling off a collection of jaw-dropping frauds, impersonating everybody from the son of a former chief minister to CBI officers, senior law enforcement officials, officers within the Prime Minister’s Workplace and people in high-profile Union ministries, and even a Supreme Courtroom decide. Lots of his audacious acts of extortion have been carried out from jail — Sukesh has had a steady jail stint since 2017, when he was arrested for allegedly taking cash from AIADMK insurgent T T V Dinakaran to bribe an Election Fee official.

Now, as he’s entangled in a mesh of overlapping circumstances being probed by the Delhi Police and the Enforcement Directorate, Sukesh, who has a minimum of 30 FIRs to his identify, is once more eliciting consideration for the probe into how he splurged his allegedly ill-gotten wealth on a bevy of small-time Bollywood actors and celebrities, together with Jacqueline Fernandes and Nora Fatehi, who’re turning up for questioning in circumstances linked to him.

A debut at 17: Fancy automobiles and the excessive life

Sukesh alias Balaji alias Shekhar Reddy was 17 when he was first arrested by the Bangalore Police in August 2007, after he had claimed a friendship with the son of JD(S) chief after which chief minister H D Kumaraswamy to allegedly cheat a household pal, Subramani, 76, of Rs 1.14 crore whereas promising to retrieve a plot from the custody of the Bangalore Improvement Authority, the government-run planning physique.

Police say he splashed the cash on a home to host his events, amongst different issues. Additionally they recovered a BMW, a Nissan, a Toyota Corolla, a Honda Metropolis, a Honda Accord, 12 high-end watches, six cellphones, together with one which value Rs 3.40 lakh, a 50-inch LCD tv set, gold ornaments and designer garments.

“The boy used to come back in a Honda V-Tec and grasp across the drag racers in Bengaluru,” says an acquaintance of Sukesh from his teenage days. “As soon as, at a espresso store in south Bangalore, I heard him telling somebody that he may guarantee admissions in a sure college since he was the son of the proprietor of the varsity. I used to be shocked to listen to this as a result of my mom ran the varsity,” he says.

D Devaraja, a former deputy commissioner of police in Bengaluru who headed a workforce that nabbed Sukesh in April 2011 — in a case of allegedly dishonest dozens of businessmen in Tamil Nadu by posing as a secretary to then Karnataka CM B S Yediyurappa and promising authorities contracts in return for bribes — says, “Sukesh Chandrasekhar has a fixation for high-end automobiles and a excessive life that may be traced to his college days.”

In keeping with police sources, the fascination for automobiles and driving has its origins in Sukesh’s college days at a premier college in Bengaluru, the place lots of his schoolmates arrived in fancy automobiles whereas Chandrashekhar, who hailed from a decrease middle-class household, was dropped off at college by his father, a contractor, part-time mechanic and gross sales man of car spare components.

As many as eight luxurious automobiles seized by Revenue Tax authorities throughout investigations linked to Sukesh’s actions have been mendacity on the premises of the Karnataka wing of the IT division since November 2017. The eight luxurious automobiles (a Lamborghini, Porsche Cayenne, Bentley, Vary Rover, Rolls Royce, BMW, Jaguar, a Toyota Land Cruiser) and a Ducati bike, have been seized following investigations into an alleged Rs 50-crore bribery deal. The case — the primary that catapulted him to the large league of conmen — concerned Sukesh, then in Tihar jail, allegedly placing a take care of a faction of the AIADMK, led by V Okay Sasikala and her nephew T T V Dhinakaran, by assuring them that he would affect Election Fee officers and get them the ‘two leaves’ image of the occasion forward of the keenly contested R Okay Nagar by-polls in Chennai. The election was subsequently shelved and the investigation led to Sukesh’s door.

His accomplice in crime

However by then, Sukesh had been arrested a number of instances and launched on bail, together with in 2009, across the time he met Leena Maria Paul, later his spouse and co-accused in a number of of his frauds.

Police say that when Sukesh was arrested in 2011 — within the case the place he posed as a secretary to Yediyurappa — it was Leena who helped monitor him down. The arrest led to a brief break-up, however the couple have been quickly again collectively and moved to Kochi. Nevertheless, they have been compelled to depart the town in 2012 after a textile group filed a dishonest case towards him. Sukesh had taken Rs 20 lakh from the Kochi-based Emmanuel Silks, promising to carry actress Katrina Kaif for a promotional programme.

Sukesh’s dad and mom Chandrashekhar and Mala too had been arrested with him in 2007 and 2011 in dishonest circumstances.

Subsequent, in 2013, Sukesh was arrested in Kolkata and Leena in Delhi for dishonest a enterprise couple and a department of the Canara Financial institution in Chennai to the tune of Rs 19 crore after claiming to be officers from the Karnataka authorities keen on a sanitary serviette dispensation machine which the couple’s agency Future, Techniks Pvt Ltd, had pioneered.

Sukesh and Maria allegedly satisfied the couple that they’d be awarded a Rs-132 crore contract for dishing out sanitary napkins round Karnataka in the event that they made an preliminary funding of Rs 19 crore. The Chennai couple obtained a mortgage from the Canara Financial institution and transferred the funds to non-public accounts indicated by Sukesh, who had been posing as a Karnataka-cadre IAS officer. The couple cleaned out Rs 12 crore earlier than the fraud was detected.

The Rs 200-cr fraud

Nevertheless, the large unravelling of Sukesh occurred in 2021, when former Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Singh’s spouse Aditi Singh lodged an FIR with the Delhi Police, alleging that she was cheated of Rs 200 crore by a person posing because the “legislation secretary”, who promised to assist together with her husband’s circumstances if she contribute to the “occasion fund”.

She additionally alleged the person once more referred to as from a landline — which the Truecaller app displayed because the variety of a senior official of the Prime Minister’s Workplace — and requested her to go to the occasion workplace or North Block to satisfy the previous legislation minister or the present Residence Minister.

Even for somebody who had pulled off probably the most audacious of stunts, this one hit Sukesh arduous.

A case of extortion and impersonation was registered with the Particular Cell and he was arrested from inside Rohini jail, the place he was then lodged. Police later transferred the case to the Financial Offence Wing (EOW) and made extra arrests, together with of Rohini jail officers, and added sections of the stringent Maharashtra Management of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).

Whereas he carried out this seemingly unimaginable stunt, Sukesh lived it up inside jail, allegedly paying Rs 1.5 crore each month for a separate barrack and attending to freely use cell phones. Primarily based on paperwork, information and proof collected throughout the probe, the Delhi Police concluded that the cash was paid as bribe to all workers, regardless of their duties, to make sure they remained silent. An FIR was registered towards Sukesh and 82 jail workers, and eight jail officers have been arrested.

The mansion on Chennai’s East Coast Street

A easy talker, Sukesh is thought to glide into conversations in any of the south Indian languages, Hindi and English.

Cops in Tamil Nadu who’ve probed Sukesh describe him as a mild-mannered man. “Such a soft-spoken man. You gained’t consider that he’s into such crimes,” stated a senior police officer who has investigated a number of circumstances involving Sukesh and Leena since 2012.

He has allegedly conned over 100 individuals, together with poultry farmers, underwear producers, strain cooker makers, financial institution executives, parking methods makers, kitchen tools makers and a dry fruits packaging agency by claiming to be a intermediary for presidency contracts.

“He would not often meet his targets in individual,” says the previous Bengaluru DCP Devaraj (who’s now the SP of the Kolar district) about Sukesh’s modus operandi.

“He would search for authorities contracts and firms on the Web after which make his strategy over the phone,” stated a police official including that Sukesh used spoofing, a method that entails the masking of the caller’s telephone quantity with a variety of selection.

“Sukesh would push his victims right into a nook, saying the contracts are set to be finalised by the top of the day. He would promise to fill in tender paperwork for a fee and strategy the businessmen for bigger quantities to ship on the contracts. His girlfriend would name in between, pretending to be his secretary. As soon as cash was transferred to particularly created financial institution accounts, they’d vanish,” the official added.

A senior Enforcement Directorate official, who has been a part of raids carried out at Chandrasekhar’s luxurious beach-front mansion on East Coast Street in Chennai in August final 12 months, says the workforce was shocked at what they noticed.

“I’ve been to many palatial houses for searches, however this mansion was one thing else. The amount of cash and a focus that had gone into designing the interiors was unbelievable. We weren’t capable of estimate the worth of lights and lamps after we tried to hint them on-line later. Seemingly costly artifacts comparable to work, sculptures and artwork works in brass and silver… There was a horse head made in copper, an set up of a racing automotive inside the home, and a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR with an engraving of ‘722’, a tribute to the enduring automotive that Sir Stirling Moss drove in his well-known 1955 Mille Miglia race,” stated an officer.

Prior to now, Sukesh has allegedly masqueraded as a grandson of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, because the son-in-law of former Union minister M Okay Alagiri, and because the son of a number of political leaders and bureaucrats comparable to former Union minister T R Baalu, former Tamil Nadu finance minister Okay Anbazhagan, former Karnataka minister Karunakara Reddy and former Karnataka chief secretary Sudhakar Rao, and as a nephew of former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajashekhar Reddy.

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Since 2007, Sukesh’s crime graph has spanned the cities of Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.

“Sukesh Chandrashekhar has created an internet by means of his devious mechanism. He’s a grasp con man and with expertise at his disposal he may execute to perfection his plan. He accessed a cell phone, bought it recharged, generated digital numbers, downloaded apps to spoof calls, modulated his voice, even used expertise to fake that completely different personalities have been calling the sufferer to weave an internet of lies in order to make sure that the sufferer couldn’t wriggle out. His knack was to collect data from all believable sources, be it open sources, deep / darkish internet, household and his dalliances with the jail authorities to impress the sufferer and create a worry to extort cash,” the ED said in its first chargesheet towards Chandrashekhar final 12 months.

A senior police officer in Chennai stated regardless of the staggering breadth of Sukesh’s frauds, he has by no means needed to strive too arduous. “His talent, craft and success was all about his deep understanding about how Indian politics, governments and the judiciary work. He was somebody with a watch for the vulnerabilities of the Indian system, be it corrupt politicians, formidable celebrities or crony industrialists. He isn’t just a conman however somebody with a deep understanding of how India works.”

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