Accused in drug case, Tollywood celebs to feel ED heat

Deccan Chronicle.  | dc correspondent

Entertainment, Tollywood

The ED summoned Tollywood director Puri Jagannadh for questioning on Tuesday

Tollywood director Puri Jagannadh (Image credit: Social media)

HYDERABAD: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) office in Basheerbagh is all set to witness hectic action from Tuesday with Tollywood bigwigs being summoned by law enforcement officials in connection with the drug case in 2017 booked by Telangana prohibition and excise officials.

The ED summoned Tollywood director Puri Jagannadh for questioning on Tuesday. As per the schedule, he had to be present by himself in front of officials. Incidentally, Puri Jagannadh is also the first one to be summoned for questioning by the special investigation team (SIT) of the excise and enforcement department.

The ED, a Central agency which primarily deals with money laundering cases, reportedly had information that points out drugs being brought from the illegal money. It is learnt that the ED reportedly prepared a detailed questionnaire to grill the Tollywood celebrities. The persons who were called for questioning may require to repeat what they had already said to the SIT.  

In 2017, after nearly a daylong questioning by the SIT, Puri Jagannadh taking to social media said, "During the questioning, I told them clearly that I have no links with Calvin gang and never met Calvin,” he said referring to Calvin Mascrenhas, the kingpin of the racket.

The SIT questioned several Tollywood celebrities in the case involving high-end drugs such as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and MDM (methylenedioxy-methamphetamine). Investigation revealed that the narcotic drugs were procured by placing orders through the darknet and delivered by courier.

The ED first started a probe into the case in November 2020. Subsequently the ED officials said, "We have written a letter to the commissioner, prohibition and excise department, with a request to provide copies of 12 FIRs registered in 2017 along with relevant documents. Till December 2020, we did not receive any reply," the ED said.

It may be noted that in its affidavit submitted in the court, the ED asked the court to direct the prohibition and excise department to render 'necessary assistance' in terms of sharing FIRs, charge sheets, statements, digital evidence and all other related documents.