Tollywood Drug Case: Actor Ravi Teja Appears For ED

T'wood drug case: actor Ravi Teja appears before ED

Tollywood actor Ravi Teja and his driver appeared before the Department of Enforcement (ED) on Thursday in connection with a money laundering investigation into the 2017 drug case.

The popular actor reached the ED office here around 10 a.m. following the agency’s subpoena.

Ravi Teja’s driver and assistant, Srinivas, also appeared before the ED officials. Both are likely to be questioned about their financial dealings.

Key defendant Calvin Mascarenhas is also likely to be questioned again. His statement was recorded on Tuesday and the celebrities are being questioned based on his statement.

Ravi Teja is the sixth Tollywood personality to appear before ED. Director Puri Jagannadh and actors Charmee Kaur, Rakul Preet Singh, Nandu and Daggubati Rana have been questioned since August 31.

Rana was questioned for nearly seven hours on Wednesday as part of the investigation into suspected links of some celebrities to the suspect involved in the case.

The ED had issued notices last month to 10 individuals associated with Tollywood and two others, including a private club manager as part of a money laundering investigation into the case involving the smuggling of “Class A” narcotics, including LSD and MDMA.

Actors Navdeep, Mumaith Khan and Tanish have also been subpoenaed by the ED in connection with the drug racket caught in the arrest of drug traffickers in 2017.

Rana and Rakul Preet were not on the list of Tollywood celebrities surveyed in 2017 by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Telangana’s Prohibition and Excise Department.

However, Rakul Preet was questioned last year by the Narcotics Control Bureau, Mumbai, in an alleged drug nexus in Bollywood.

The drug racket was seized on July 2, 2017 when customs officials arrested Calvin Mascarenhas, a musician and two others and seized drugs worth Rs 30 lakh.

They had reportedly told investigators that they supply drugs to movie celebrities, software engineers and even students from some business schools. Mobile numbers of some Tollywood celebrities are said to have been found in their contact lists.

The excise department had set up SIT for an extensive investigation. A total of 12 cases were recorded, 30 people were arrested, while 62 individuals, including 11 people associated with Tollywood, were investigated by the SIT under Section 67 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Among those arrested are an American, a South African and a Dutchman.

The SIT had collected blood, hair, nail and other samples from some of those who appeared before him for questioning and sent them in for analysis.

The SIT has filed charges in eight of the twelve cases. However, it provided clear information to the film personalities who were questioned as part of the investigation.


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