Well-known Telugu film director Puri Jagannadh appeared before the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) on Tuesday in connection with a money laundering investigation linked to a four-year drug case.
Puri Jagannadh along with his certified public accountant appeared before Emergency Department officials after being subpoenaed in connection with the investigation.
Last week, the ED issued notices to 10 people related to Tollywood and two others, including a private club manager, as part of its investigation.
In addition to Puri Jagganadh, actors Rakul Preet Singh, Rana Daggubati, Ravi Teja, Charmee Kaur, Navdeep and Mumaith Khan were asked to appear before ED between August 31 and September 22.
Tanish, Nandu, actor Ravi Teja’s host, Srinivas, were also among those called up.
The questioning is likely to bring to light new facts about the fraud that was broken with the arrest of drug traffickers in 2017.
Before beginning the questioning of the Tollywood personalities, the DE compiled details of the investigations conducted by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Telangana Department of Prohibition and Excise.
The ED questioning has brought attention back to the case, which was in a cold room and was even considered dead by many because of the clean note SIT gave to the film’s personalities.
The scam was broken on July 2, 2017, when customs officials arrested Calvin Mascarenhas, a musician, and two other people and seized Rs 30 lakh worth of drugs.
Investigators had reportedly been told they were supplying drugs to movie celebrities, software engineers and even students at some corporate schools. The mobile numbers of some Tollywood celebrities were allegedly found on their contact lists.
The Excise Department had set up the SIT for a thorough investigation.
A total of 12 cases were recorded, 30 people were arrested while 62 people, including 11 people related to Tollywood, were examined by the SIT under section 67 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) and section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The SIT had collected blood, hair, nails and other samples from some of those who appeared before it for the question and sent them for analysis.
He filed charge sheets in eight of the 12 cases. The team, however, gave a clean note to the film’s personalities who were questioned as part of the investigation.
The defendants against whom cases were recorded include Rafeal Alex Victor, a South African citizen, and Puttakar Ranson Joseph, who works in the film industry as a manager.
Joseph was the manager of lead actor Kajal Agarwal, who fired him after his arrest.
Authorities had recovered from the defendant 3,000 units of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), 105 grams of MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy), 45 grams of cocaine and other narcotic and psychotropic substances.
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