One of the women who met Sukesh Chandrashekhar in Tihar jail said she was made to believe that he was a prominent media baron
A luxuriously furnished room in prison, a Dyson fan, a PlayStation, an air conditioner, cash in sweet boxes lying carelessly in the refrigerator, and Apple products, Rolex watches and designer bags strewn everywhere — this is what life was like for Sukesh Chandrashekhar, who faces multiple cases of cheating people, during the first half of 2018, when he was lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail.
This description was provided by Chandrashekhar’s alleged accomplice Pinky Irani and at least three other women who met him at Tihar’s jail number 1 in 2018. The statements of the four have been attached in the police’s latest charge sheet against Chandrashekhar in an alleged ₹200 crore fraud case.
However, Chandrashekar’s counsel has claimed that the allegations against his client are an attempt by agencies to portray him “in a bad light”.
Chandrashekhar (33) is involved in at least 32 criminal cases across Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and other states. Between 2020 and early 2021, when he was in Delhi’s Rohini jail, he allegedly pulled off a ₹200 crore heist by duping jailed industrialist Shivinder Mohan’s wife Aditi Singh, posing as the Union law secretary and calling her with an offer to bail her jailed husband.
Irani has also been charged in the alleged fraud case, while the other three — Nikita Tamboli, Chhahat Khanna, and Sophiya Singh — are police witnesses in the cases and have not been charged or named an accused.
To be sure, Tamboli, Khanna and Singh had met Chandrashekhar in jail in 2018 — at least two years before he allegedly pulled off the ₹200 crore fraud. Police have attached their statements to the charge sheet, filed before a Delhi court on January 16, to highlight Irani’s association with Chandshekhar from 2018 till 2021, when fraud allegedly took place.
Police have filed four charge sheets in the case so far and have charged 17 people, including five jail officials who allegedly helped Chandrashekhar circumvent jail rules.
In the latest charge sheet, they have alleged that Chandrashekhar paid Irani to introduce him to female actors and models.
According to Tamboli, Irani approached her in March 2018 and took her to meet Chandrashekhar at Tihar sometime in April that year. “In a BMW car, we went to Tihar gate number 3 and an Innova car came to us and took us inside the jail premises. No security check was done and no identity card was asked for. There, I went upstairs with Angel (Irani), where in a room I saw Shekhar (Chandrashekhar) was already sitting with a girl and two other men. Then Angel told me to wait downstairs and I was escorted with police downstairs,” Tamboli said in her statement.
Describing Chandrashekhar’s room in prison, she said, “There were lots of expensive bags of Gucci, LV inside his room… Shekhar left and gifted me a Gucci bag and ₹2 lakh in cash…,” she said adding that before she entered Chandrashekhar’s room, she saw a girl coming out who had covered her face with a dupatta and was wearing a designer bag.
Singh, meanwhile, has said that she was conned into believing that Chandrashekhar was a film producer willing to sign her, and said Irani took her to Tihar in March 2018. Singh also described the prisoner’s room as having a “big screen TV, sofa, Dyson fan, small refrigerator, and (a) food bar”.
Khanna told police that when Irani took her to meet Chandrashekhar in prison in May 2018, she was told that he is a prominent media baron and the brother of a politician. Describing the first-floor room where she met Chandrashekhar, Khanna said, “…We were escorted in an Innova inside the jail premises… We were not checked. After that two jail officials in uniform escorted both of us to the first floor… In that room, there were lots of gadgets, a big television, a PlayStation, AC, big Apple Bluetooth speakers, laptops, sofa, a recliner, phones, Rolex watches, many expensive Gucci, Hermes bags.”
When contacted, Chandrashekar’s counsel Anant Malik said, “The allegations towards my client concerning various models visiting him in jail through Pinki Irani have been brought on record by the agencies to cater to a narrative of portraying Sukesh in a bad light. These allegations pertain to the year 2018-2019, whereas the alleged ₹200 crore case pertains to 2020- 2021. Thus the issue of models visiting my client in jail is of no relevance to the present case. As far as the allegations about Sukesh maintaining a flamboyant lifestyle within jail premises are concerned, this is something that the jail authorities have to answer and rather be investigated for. The top brass has to be held accountable.”