Tollywood actor Rana Daggubati on Wednesday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering probe related to the 2017 drug case. The ‘Baahubali’ fame actor reached the ED office around 10 am and walked in as a team of security personnel through a battery of media lensmen vying with each other to capture the moment.
Rana is likely to be questioned by ED officials about his bank details and financial transactions as part of the probe into the suspected links of some celebrities with the accused involved in the case.
Rana is the fifth Tollywood personality to appear before the ED. Director Puri Jagannath and actors Charmi Kaur, Rakul Preet Singh and Nandu were questioned since August 31.
The ED had last month issued notices to 10 people linked to Tollywood and two others, including a private club manager, as part of a money laundering probe in a case related to smuggling of ‘Class A’ drugs including LSD and MDMA.
Nandu was questioned for over eight hours on Tuesday. Key accused in the case, Calvin Mascarenhas and two others were also questioned by ED officials on Tuesday.
Actors Ravi Teja, Navdeep. The ED has also summoned Mumaith Khan, Tanish and Ravi Teja’s driver Srinivas in connection with the drugs racket, which was busted in 2017 with the arrest of drug peddlers.
Rana and Rakul Preet were not named in the list of Tollywood celebrities questioned by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Telangana’s Prohibition and Excise Department in 2017.
However, Rakul Preet was questioned by the Narcotics Control Bureau, Mumbai last year in connection with an alleged drugs nexus in Bollywood.
The drugs racket was busted on July 2, 2017, when customs officials arrested a musician Calvin Mascarenhas and two others and seized drugs worth Rs 30 lakh from them. They had reportedly told investigators that they were supplying drugs to film personalities, software engineers and even students of some corporate schools. Mobile numbers of some Tollywood celebrities were reportedly found in their contact list.
The Excise Department had constituted an SIT for a comprehensive investigation. A total of 12 cases were registered, 30 people were arrested, while 62 persons, including 11 linked to 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.
The SIT had collected blood, hair, nails and other samples from some people who had come before it for questioning and sent them for analysis. The SIT filed chargesheets in eight of the 12 cases. However, it gave a clean chit to the film personalities who were questioned as part of the investigation.