SC sends conman Sukesh to Mandoli jail; denies probe on extortion charge at Tihar

The ED informed the court that upon investigation into the ₹215 crore extortion case executed by conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar between July 2020 and August 2021, he paid ₹12.5 crore as bribes to jail officials

SC sends conman Sukesh to Mandoli jail; denies probe on extortion charge at Tihar

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the transfer of conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar and his wife from Delhi’s Tihar jail to Mandoli jail and “consciously” decided not to deal with his allegation of extortion against prison officials as ‘the matter ought to be left to the concerned authorities to handle’.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) claimed that over ₹12 crore, alleged as extortion amount by Chandrashekhar, was paid as bribes to prison officials at Tihar who have since been suspended.

“We have not consciously gone into the allegations made by the petitioner as no clap occurs unless there are two hands,” the bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia said.

Appearing for the ED, additional solicitor general (ASG) SV Raju opposed Chandrashekhar’s transfer from Tihar. According to him, strong actions of suspension and transfer were initiated against 80 odd officials following revelations of hefty bribe paid by the conman to jail authorities.

Since then, Chandrashekhar found it difficult to continue with his illegal activities of extortion and cheating from inside prison. Hence, the allegations levelled by him was a ploy to shift to another jail to implement his nefarious plans.

Finding jail officials to be equally guilty, “Who is at fault,” the bench asked Raju. The ASG said the accused who is wanted in several crimes across many states had impersonated top officials in the ministry and extorted ₹215 crore in tranches from one Aditi Singh, promising to get her husband – former Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Mohan Singh – out on bail.

We are afraid if he still indulges in such activity from another jail, it will be unfortunate. The facts of what he has done in jail are gross and glaring. The jail officials were on his payroll, allowing him uninterrupted use of cellphone inside the jail to pass documents and information to his associates outside jail,” Raju claimed.

“Have you registered any FIR on whatever he did in jail? When we asked you about this you had no answer,” the bench told ED.

As the ED is already investigating the matter of exchange of bribes in the ₹215 crore extortion case, the bench said, “It appears that the respondent (ED) has taken action against several jail officials and staff. Whether this bears out the petitioner’s allegation (of extortion) or proves the ED allegation (of bribery) is not for this court to investigate. It is best left to the concerned authorities to do so.”

As the ED appearing in the matter had on an earlier occasion agreed to shift him to Mandoli jail, which is manned by central security forces, the bench ordered both the conman and his wife Leena Paulose to be shifted to Mandoli prisons within a week.

ASG Raju remarked, “His letters (sent from jail to associates) read like a crime novel,” to which the bench said, “We are sure he will make money out of that.”

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