Hyderabad: Telugu actor Rana Daggubati appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here on Wednesday after being summoned as part of the ongoing money laundering probe in connection with a high-end drugs racket busted in the city in 2017. The “Baahubali” star is among the over 10 Tollywood (Telugu film industry) personalities including actors and directors, to be summoned by the ED.
Since August 31 this year noted filmmaker Puri Jagannadh, actresses Charmee Kaur and Rakul Preet Singh, actor Nandu have appeared before the central agency. On July 2, 2017 the Telangana’s Prohibition and Excise department, had busted a drug racket by arresting a three-member gang including Calvin Mascrenhas, a musician, for allegedly peddling narcotic drugs such as LSD and MDMA. Subsequently, several cases related to the drug trafficking were registered and over 20 people were arrested.
According to officials, the gang’s clientele included nearly 1,000 customers including students of city-based schools and colleges, people associated with Tollywood, senior officials of MNCs and employees of IT firms in Cyberabad. The names of some Tollywood personalities surfaced during the interrogation of persons arrested in connection with the drug bust. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Telangana’s Prohibition and Excise department, as part of its investigation had also probed the alleged drug-links with Tollywood, and had then questioned 11 people connected to the Telugu film industry including actors and directors besides the driver of one of the actor and had also collected hair and nail samples.
The SIT quizzed them to ascertain if they had any links with the racket as consumers or suppliers, or with those arrested. Chargesheets were also filed in connection with the cases, but none of the Tollywood personalities were chargesheeted. The ED summoned the Tollywood personalities who were among those questioned by SIT and some others also and they were asked to appear before it. However, Rana was not questioned by SIT at that time.