ED given Tollywood files: TS

Deccan Chronicle.  | Vujjini Vamshidhar

Nation, Current Affairs

Sarfaraz Ahmed said that in 11 cases the investigating officers had not obtained backup of digital evidence which had been seized

Telangana High Court. (DC Photo)

Hyderabad: Excise department director Sarfaraz Ahmed on Monday told the Telangana High Court that files of the investigations into the 2017 drugs case in which several Telugu film industry celebrities were allegedly involved, were handed over to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in March.

The Telangana High Court had directed the state government and the Special Investigation Team on February 2 to furnish all the details and evidence to the ED within 30 days. This was not complied with and the ED had filed a contempt petition. The Excise director Ahmed apologised for the delay.

He said that in 11 cases the investigating officers had not obtained backup of digital evidence which had been seized. The department said that the call data records of the accused were not obtained by the investigating officers, but only in one case call data of 12 mobile numbers were provided to the ED by the Special Task Force Team in a pen drive. He informed the court that the video recording related to the process of questioning 12 suspects had also been furnished to the ED.

He explained that in compliance with the directions of the High Court, all records pertaining to the 12 FIRs including certified copies, panchanamas, arrest cards, remand reports, statements of accused, chargesheets etc., comprising 828 pages, had been sent to the Enforcement Directorate on March 21.

The court asked Gadi Praveen Kumar, ED counsel, whether the agency had received the documents. Counsel sought two weeks time. The hearing was adjourned immediately after summer vacation.

Earlier, the ED had said that the orders of the High Court of February regarding transfer of investigation files within 30 days were not complied with, and filed a contempt case against Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar and Excise director Ahmad. The court issued contempt notices on both the officers.

Following this, the excise department director and assistant commissioner of the Special Task Force filed counters stating that the delay was not intentional but a result of the work load.

 “Delay in providing documents to the ED was entirely due to administrative reasons, we are tendering an unconditional apology… We have no intention to disobey the orders,” Ahmed told the High Court.

He said there was a delay in gathering the documents and checking them carefully to ensure that nothing had been missed out. Besides, he was deputed to go to Delhi to coordinate with the Centre with regard to the return of Telangana students from Ukraine and was later engaged in Assembly Budget Session meetings.