Thursday , December 7 2023

Drug Tremors Rock Tollywood; One More Pedlar Held

Hyderabad,: The Special Investigation Team of the Excise Enforcement Directorate arrested one more key drug peddler Piyush  and event manager in the early hours of Friday taking the total number of arrested so far in connection with the unearthing of drug mafia operating in the twin cities to 13.

Disclosing this to the media, Director of the Excise Enforcement Directorate Akun Sabharwal said 12 peddlers, including the kingpin Calvin Mascarenhas were arrested earlier and of these 10 were dealing with powerful LSD and two were engaged in the supply of cocaine to their clients in Film Nagar. Another peddler was nabbed by the SIT on gathering information early this morning, he disclosed.

Meanwhile, the Telugu film industry in the State seems to have been caught in a web of drug abuse crisis and the SIT served notices on as many as 12 prominent film personalities to appear in person before it in connection with the ongoing investigation into the drug racket. Among those who were served notices, include actors, actresses and even a well-known Director. It is learnt that those who were summoned to appear before the SIT in person between July 19 and 27, include hero Ravi Teja, actress Charmee Kaur, item song actress Mumaith Khan, Director Puri Jagannath, character actor Subbaraju, actors Navdeep, Naveen, Tarun, cinematographer Sham K Naidu and so on.

Akun Sabharwal, however, declined to reveal the names of those film personalities to whom notices were served by asserting that it would be unethical and incorrect to name them. “We have only issued notices to record their statements as part of the ongoing investigation into the drug racket, he explained and made it amply clear that no one from the film industry was arrested yet.

Sabharwal also said as many as nine of those connected with the film industry had confirmed receipt of the notices. Except the two women artistes, all the others would have to come in person to the SIT Office. The women would have the option to choose the place where they would like to record their statement, he added. In reply to another query, he asserted that the SIT was getting cent percent cooperation from the State government, police and other agencies

The SIT and other officers connected with the investigations held a meeting today wherein the progress made so far in the drug was analyzed and also the measures to be adopted in weeding out the menace. The meeting also discussed specific points on which the film artistes should be interrogated. Since the two gangs that were nabbed till now were dealing separately with LSD and Cocaine, the artistes are expected to be questioned as to from where and whom they were getting their supplies of either LSD or cocaine.

One popular pub situated in Gachibowli  area is stated to be the regular hangout for the film artistes and  where the drug mafia was also clandestinely carrying on their business. One young film star is also stated be having shares in the pub business. Many of the film artistes, who had received the notices, expressed their shock and dismay on receiving the notices from SIT .While stoutly denying that they were taking drugs and also about knowing Calvin, the drug kingpin, many in the industry did confess that those connected with the film industry, especially the second grade artistes were used to drugs though not to any alarming proportions.

Though in the beginning the drug racket sent tremors in many reputed educational institutions as the mafia was targeting the school and college students, now the film industry was jolted that the drug mafia had spread its tentacles in Tollywood.

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