They have always dismissed speculation about their relationship, insisting that they are “good friends and make a great professional team.” But Tollywood director Puri Jagannadh, who faced intense grilling by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Telangana Excise department in connection with the drug scandal that has hit Tollywood, vociferously defended Charmme when the investigators repeatedly asked him whether she also does drugs and if Puri supplied it to her after procuring it from Calvin Mascrenhas, the drug peddler who opened the Pandora’s Box.
“Charmme has absolutely no connection with Calvin. She is not the kind of woman who is into drugs, but a thorough professional who is focused on her work. There is nothing more to it except media hype,” Puri is said to have told the SIT officials, with his facial expressions clearly indicating that Charmme was indeed a special friend, sources disclosed.
In fact, at one point, sources say, Puri reportedly equated Charmme with a goddess to convey the point that she was not doing drugs!
“She is a hardworking, decent woman who struggled a lot to reach where she is today. The media has done tremendous damage by spreading all sorts of stories against her. She is as clean (of drugs) as goddesses are,”' Puri reportedly told SIT officials.
In between defending himself and Charmme, Puri Jagannadh, sometimes wearing a tense look, took several breaks to smoke, during the 10-hour questioning. In fact, sources say that SIT officials were lenient with Puri and gave him frequent breaks, almost every two hours, to smoke.
The SIT suspects that Puri may have supplied drugs to Charmme and other close friends of his in the Telugu film industry, after procuring it from Calvin. They have also served a notice to Charmme in connection with the case and she would undergo an interrogation too, shortly. Only, she would not be visiting the SIT office and will meet them at any place of her choice, as mandated for women under the NDPS Act.
“When Puri was questioned whether Charmme was using drugs and if he had supplied it to her, his facial expressions and body language suddenly changed and he sounded very emotional. It was very clear that he had a soft corner for her. The way he was defending Charmme surprised even us, he was indeed vociferous,” sources confirmed.