Mumbai: Actress caught for cheating splurged on luxury cars, watches

Jun 03, 2015, 06:58 IST | Vinay Dalvi

Leena Maria Paul, a small-time actress, and her partner, cheated more than 1,000 people to the tune of Rs 10 crore by promising them 20 per cent monthly returns in their ‘investment’ company

A small-time actress and her boyfriend have been arrested for cheating more than 1,000 people of crores of rupees to quench their thirst to live the high life.

Police have recovered nine luxury cars including those from brands like Bentley, Audi, Mercedes, Maserati and Nissan 117 imported watches, 12 mobile phones, and a sports bike
Police have recovered nine luxury cars including those from brands like Bentley, Audi, Mercedes, Maserati and Nissan 117 imported watches, 12 mobile phones, and a sports bike

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Crime Branch has found that the couple bought nine luxury cars, 117 imported watches, a sports bike, 12 cellphones and several other items with the money that people gave them for their ‘investment’ company.

Police arrested actress Leena Maria Paul (26) and her live-in partner Shekar Chandrashekar (25), along with four others Adil Jaipuri (24), Akhtar Jaipuri (55), Salman Rizvi (28) and Nasir Jaipuri (50). Paul has worked with Mohanlal in the 2009 film Red Chillies, and John Abraham in Madras Cafe.

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The EOW officers said they got a tip-off that Chandrashekar, identified as the mastermind, was running a double investment scam in Goregaon and lived a posh lifestyle with the money.

“Based on this information, we raided Chandrashekar’s office and learnt that he was running a company called Lion Oak India and was illegally accepting cash deposits, for which he had started bogus schemes such as Lucky Number 05, Special Harvest Week, Super Harvest Plus, and Weekly New Year Bonanza,” said Dhananjay Kamlakar, joint commissioner of police, EOW.

The scam
The accused would promise people extravagant returns on sums they invested 20 per cent on a monthly basis, and 300 per cent in three months. They would then splurge on luxury products using the hard-earned money of investors. Police have recovered nine luxury cars including brands like Bentley, Audi, Mercedes, Maserati, Nissan - 117 imported watches, mobile phones, and a sports bike.

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“The accused also purchased a Honda sports bike worth Rs 23 lakh. We have found around 117 imported high-end watches and 12 mobile phones from brands like Vertu with Chandrashekar. He was paying around Rs 75,000 as rent for house in Imperial Heights, Goregoan,” said Kamlakar. Police have learnt that Paul was in a live-in relationship with Chandrashekar and the couple had landed in the police’s net in Chennai for cheating Canara Bank in 2013.

Chandrashekar had posed as an IAS officer and obtained a loan of Rs 19 crore from the bank. “They did not have any permissions to start the company and Chandrashekar had been arrested by the Chennai police earlier for posing as an IAS officer and cheating the bank. Yet, around 1,000 people invested with them. They have cheated these people to the tune of R10 crore,” added Kamlakar.

“They would only accept cash. When people came to them on the due date (of the scheme) to collect their money, they used to convince them to re-invest and promised good returns. They also signed agreements with investors to gain their confidence,” said DCP Pravin Padwal from the EOW.

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Several doctors in the city have fallen prey to the schemes. Advocate Adnan Shaikh said three doctors had approached him till date. Dr Mursalin Sheikh, a general physician, told mid-day, “After putting in R10 lakh, I was told we had to keep on investing or the scheme would be stopped. I gave around Rs 25 lakh.

They had promised us gifts like watches, cars and cellphones. We didn’t get anything.” Dr Sheikh realised he’d been taken for a ride when the mobile phones of the accused were switched off one day and their office was locked. The accused have been booked for cheating and criminal conspiracy, and under relevant sections of the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978.

I've been cheated of Rs 2.5 crore: Rakhi Sawant
Among the victims of the investment scam is actress Rakhi Sawant. Sawant said, “I had invested around Rs 2.5 crore.

Rakhi Sawant

He (Shekar) approached us from time to time and requested us to invest money. I saw his fancy lifestyle and thought he was a big financier. This comes as a shock. I had hoped to get my money back,” she said.

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