Sukesh Chandrasekhar’s Slate: The Life of a Car-Obsessed Conman Who Never Slowed Down

One of the earliest stories of serial conman Sukesh Chandrasekhar’s confidence trickery is from his early days in Bangalore, where he grew up. Then a 17-year-old, he reportedly carried with him a forged letter from the Bengaluru police commissioner that the teenager was eligible to drive and ride a bike anywhere in Karnataka.

It was in 2006, when he dropped out of class 10. Since then, the boy who loved fast cars has gone full throttle, committing one scam after another, impersonating everyone from the former chief minister’s son. CBI officers, senior police officers, Prime Minister’s Office officials and high-profile Union Ministry officials, even Supreme Court judges. Many of his daring extortion exploits have been from jail — Sukesh has been in jail continuously since 2017, when he was arrested for allegedly accepting money from AIADMK rebel TTV Dinakaran for allegedly bribing an Election Commission official.

Now, as he is embroiled in a web of overlapping cases being investigated by the Delhi Police and the Enforcement Directorate, Sukesh, who has at least 30 FIRs to his name, is again drawing attention for the probe into how he spread his alleged illness. Amassed wealth with small-time Bollywood actors and celebrities, including Jacqueline Fernandez and Nora Fatehi, appearing for questioning in cases linked to him.

Debut at 17: Fancy cars and the high life

Sukesh alias Balaji alias Shekhar Reddy was 17 when he was first arrested by the Bengaluru police in August 2007, when he allegedly tricked family friend Subramani by claiming friendship with JD(S) leader and then chief minister HD Kumaraswamy’s son. 1.14 crore by promising to reclaim a plot from the custody of the Bangalore Development Authority, the government-run planning body.

Police said he splashed money on a house to host his party, among other things. They recovered a BMW, a Nissan, a Toyota Corolla, a Honda City, a Honda Accord, 12 high-end watches, six cellphones including one worth Rs 3.40 lakh, a 50-inch LCD television set, gold ornaments and designer ones. clothes.

“The boy used to come in a Honda V-Tech and hang around drag racers in Bengaluru,” says someone who has known Sukesh since his teenage years. “Once, at a coffee shop in south Bangalore, I heard him tell someone that he could ensure admission to a particular school as he was the son of the school owner. I was shocked to hear this because my mother used to run the school,” she says.

D Devaraja, a former deputy commissioner of police in Bengaluru who led a team that arrested Sukesh in April 2011 — a return for bribes for allegedly duping dozens of Tamil Nadu businessmen by posing as then Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa’s secretary and promising government contracts — said, “Sukesh Chandrasekhar has a specification for high-end cars and a high life that can be traced back to his school days.”

According to police sources, Sukesh’s fascination with cars and driving began during his school days at a premier school in Bengaluru, where many of his schoolmates came in fancy cars while Chandrasekhar, who belonged to a lower middle-class family, was left out. His father, a contractor, part-time mechanic and automobile parts salesman, attended school.

As many as eight luxury cars, seized by the Income Tax authorities during investigations related to Sukesh’s activities, have been lying in the premises of the IT department’s Karnataka branch since November 2017. Eight luxury cars (a Lamborghini, Porsche Cayenne, Bentley, Range Rover), Rolls Royce, BMW, Jaguar, a Toyota Land Cruiser) and a Ducati motorcycle were seized following an investigation into an alleged Rs 50 crore bribery deal. The case – the first to land him in the big league of conmen – involved Sukesh, then a Tihar jailer, allegedly striking a deal with a section of the AIADMK led by VK Sasikala and his nephew TTV Dhinakaran, assuring them that he would do so. Impress Election Commission officials and get their party’s ‘two leaves’ symbol ahead of Chennai’s RK Nagar by-election. The election was subsequently postponed and the inquiry landed at Sukesh’s door.

His partner in crime

But by then, Sukesh had been arrested and released on bail several times, including in 2009, when he met Leena Maria Paul, later his wife and co-accused in several of his frauds.

Police say that when Sukesh was arrested in 2011 – in a case in which he posed as a secretary of Yeddyurappa – Leenai helped track him down. The arrest led to a temporary separation, but the couple soon got back together and moved to Kochi. However, they were forced to leave the city in 2012 after a textile group filed a fraud case against him. Sukesh took Rs 20 lakh from Kochi-based Emmanuel Silks by promising to bring actress Katrina Kaif for a promotional event.

Sukesh’s parents Chandrasekhar and Mala were also arrested in 2007 and 2011 in cheating cases.

Later, in 2013, after claiming to be a Karnataka government official interested in distributing sanitary napkins, Sukesh was arrested in Kolkata and Leena in Delhi for defrauding a business couple and a Canara Bank branch in Chennai of Rs 19 crore. The machine that pioneered the couple’s firm Future, Technics Pvt.

Sukesh and Maria assured the couple that they would be awarded a Rs 132 crore contract to distribute sanitary napkins around Karnataka if they made an initial investment of Rs 19 crore. The Chennai couple got a loan from Canara Bank and transferred the funds to a personal account directed by Sukesh, who posed as a Karnataka-cadre IAS officer. The couple cleared Rs 12 crore before the fraud was caught.

200 crore fraud

However, Sukesh’s big reveal came in 2021, when Aditi Singh, wife of former Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Singh, filed an FIR with the Delhi Police, alleging that she was defrauded of Rs 200 crore by a man posing as a “law secretary”, who was her husband’s wife. Promised to help the case if he contributed to the “party fund”.

He also alleged that the man called again from a landline – which the Truecaller app showed as the number of a senior official in the Prime Minister’s Office – and asked him to go to the party office or North Block to meet the former law minister or the current home minister. the minister

Even for someone who was pulling the most daring stunts, this hit Sukesh hard.

A case of extortion and impersonation was registered with the Special Cell and he was arrested from inside Rohini Jail, where he was then lodged. The police later transferred the case to the Economic Offenses Wing (EOW) and made further arrests, including Rohini Jail officials, and added sections of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA).

While he pulled off this seemingly impossible stunt, Sukesh lived it up inside the jail, paying Rs 1.5 crore per month for a separate barrack and allegedly using mobile phones freely. Based on the documents, information and evidence collected during the investigation, the Delhi Police concluded that all the workers were paid as bribes, irrespective of their duties, to ensure their silence. An FIR was registered against Sukesh and 82 jail staff and eight jail officials were arrested.

Palace on East Coast Road, Chennai

A smooth speaker, Sukesh is known to converse in South Indian languages, Hindi and English.

Tamil Nadu police officers who investigated Sukesh described him as a mild-mannered man. “Such a soft-spoken man. You would not believe that he is involved in such crimes,” said a senior police officer who has investigated several cases involving Sukesh and Leena since 2012.

He allegedly defrauded more than 100 people, including chicken farmers, underwear manufacturers, pressure cooker manufacturers, bank executives, parking system manufacturers, kitchen equipment manufacturers and a dry fruit packaging firm, by claiming to be brokers of government contracts.

“He would rarely accomplish his goals personally,” says former Bengaluru DCP Devaraj (who is now Kolar district SP) of Sukesh’s approach.

“He would look for government contracts and companies on the Internet and then make his approach over the telephone,” a police official said, adding that Sukesh used spoofing, a technique that involves masking the caller’s phone number with a preferred number.

“Sukesh would push his victims into a corner, saying deals would be finalized at the end of the day. He would promise to fill tender documents for a commission and contact businessmen for large sums to deliver contracts. His girlfriend used to call occasionally pretending to be his secretary. Once the money is transferred to the specially created bank account, they will disappear,” the official added.

A senior officer of the Enforcement Directorate, who was part of the raid on Chandrasekhar’s luxurious beach-front mansion on Chennai’s East Coast Road in August last year, said the team was shocked by what they saw.

“I have been to many palatial houses to explore, but this palatial house was something else. The amount of money and attention that went into designing the interior was unbelievable. We couldn’t guess the prices of the lights and lamps when we later tried to trace them online. Seemingly expensive works of art such as paintings, sculptures and brass and silver works… a horse’s head made of copper, a racing car installed indoors and a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR with ‘722’ engraved, which Sir Stirling Moss drove in his famous 1955 Mille Miglia race. A tribute to him who drove the iconic car,” said an officer.

In the past, Sukesh has allegedly masqueraded as the grandson of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, son-in-law of former Union Minister MK Alagiri and son of many political leaders and bureaucrats like former Union Minister TR Balu. Nephew of Tamil Nadu Finance Minister K Anbazgan, former Karnataka Minister Karunakar Reddy and former Karnataka Chief Secretary Sudhakar Rao and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy.

Newsletter | Click to get the best explainer of the day in your inbox

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

“Sukesh Chandrasekhar created a web through his confusing process. He is a skilled con man and with technology at his disposal he can execute his plans. He accessed a mobile phone, recharged it, created virtual numbers, downloaded apps to spoof calls, modulated his voice, even used technology to pretend that different people were calling the victim to weave a web of lies to confirm the victim. can Not to wriggle out was his craft to gather information from all reasonable sources, be it open source, deep/dark web, his alliance with family and jail authorities to influence the victim and create fear of extortion,” the ED said in the first chargesheet against him. Chandrasekhar last year.

A senior police officer in Chennai said that despite the astonishing breadth of Sukesh’s fraud, he never had to try very hard. “His skill, craft and success was his deep understanding of how Indian politics, government and judiciary work. He was someone who looked out for the weaknesses of the Indian system, be it corrupt politicians, ambitious celebrities or crony industrialists. He is not just a conman but has a deep understanding of how India works.

Leave a Comment