Actor Jacqueline Fernandez, whose film Tell It Like a Woman has been nominated for the Oscars, was on Friday granted permission by a Delhi court to travel abroad.
Fernandez, an accused in a Rs 200 crore money laundering case also involving alleged conman Sukesh Chandrasekhar, had sought the court's permission to travel to Dubai for three days.
Noting her advocate's submission that the actor's film was nominated for the prestigious award, Additional Sessions Judge Shailender Malik said unnecessary restrictions should not be imposed on her.
Her Hollywood film was recently nominated in the Best Original Song category.
...Applicant or accused is permitted to travel abroad from January 27 to January 30 for the Annual Bottler Conference in Dubai,the judge said.
The court imposed several conditions, including the actor depositing a fixed deposit receipt (FDR) of Rs 1 crore along with an undertaking that in case of her non-return, it will be forfeited in favour of the Enforcement Ddirectorate along with surety of Rs one crore.
Fernandez has to submit her itinerary, place of stay and contact number, besides informing the ED on her return and not tampering with evidence or investigation in any manner, the court said.
It is made clear that the look out circular (LOC) against the applicant issued in this case shall stand suspended during the aforesaid period. Passport of the applicant, if deposited, be released to her and she is directed to re-deposit the same with the court upon her return from Dubai, the court said.
Noting that the actor had complied with all the terms and conditions, the court said the ED had expressed an apprehension about Fernandez visiting a country where the agency was carrying out further investigations.
The court said it was not a valid reason to deprive the applicant of the travel and the agency could track her movements.
This court is very much conscious that the case is at the crucial stage when the matter is being heard on the point of charge and the case involves a very high stake in the sense that there are very serious allegations made against the accused persons including the applicant, the court said.
It, however, said this fact in itself could not be a reason to stop her from travelling abroad.
The court noted that rather than a personal visit, the actor was undertaking foreign travel to fulfil her professional commitments.
More particularly when it is pointed out by counsel for the accused that on account of her acting career the accused has been nominated in the prestigious Oscars Award. In such a situation it is all the more necessary for the sake of the pride of the country that unnecessary restrictions may not be imposed unless it is required for the accused, the court said.
It said Fernandez was supposed to participate as an actress or performer in a concert to be organised at the Annual Bottler Conference in Dubai.
No doubt the accused is facing prosecution herein in ED matter, however at the same time her personal liberty to travel cannot be curtailed which would adversely affect her career as an actress, the court said.
It also noted that earlier the Delhi High Court had upheld the order of a trial court dated May 28, 2022 permitting the actor to travel abroad.
At that time such order was passed when ED's investigation was still going on. It is thereafter ED had filed the supplementary complaint arraigning the applicant as accused no. 10 and the accused was granted bail subject to certain conditions, the court said.
Judgments relied upon counsel for the accused also recognize that aspect to the effect that when conditions can be imposed for ensuring accused's presence, there is no necessity in the law to restrain the accused facing prosecution not to travel abroad, the court added.