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Director Puri Jagannadh appears before SIT probing Hyderabad drug racket


Accompanied by his brother and son, the director reached the office of the prohibition and excise department at about 10am amid tight security, in response to the notice served on him.

IANS

Well-known Telugu film director Puri Jagannadh on Wednesday appeared before the special investigation team (SIT) probing the drug racket in Hyderabad, officials said.

Accompanied by his brother and son, the director reached the office of the prohibition and excise department of the Telangana government at about 10am amid tight security, in response to a notice served upon him.

With the questioning of Jagannadh, the SIT has begun questioning Telugu film industry personalities in connection with the case busted in the city earlier this month.

The SIT has served notice on at least a dozen artistes, including some leading stars, directing them to appear before it.

One artiste has been summoned on each day till the end of the month.

Actresses Charmme Kaur and Mumaith Khan are scheduled to be questioned on 20 July and 21 July, respectively. As notice could not be served on Khan, an SIT team has rushed to Mumbai, where the actress is shooting for a Telugu reality show.

Actors Ravi Teja, Navdeep, Tarun, Subbaraju and Nandu, cinematographer Shyam K Naidu and art director Chinna are among the other celebrities who will be questioned for their alleged links with the drug peddlers arrested in the case.

Excise enforcement director Akun Sabharwal, who is heading the probe, said the film personalities were served notices as their contact numbers were found in the call data of Calvin Mascarenhas, said to be the kingpin of the racket.

The investigators will try to find out if the celebrities were only using the drugs or were also involved in peddling.

Some of the artistes summoned have denied using drugs.

The racket caused a sensation as authorities found that about 1,000 students of leading private schools and colleges in the city were using high-end drugs such as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and MDMA (methylenedioxy-methamphetamine). They have issued advisories to over 50 schools and colleges to curb the menace.

The SIT has so far arrested 13 accused including US citizen Dundu Anish, an aerospace engineer who had earlier worked with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and seven BTech graduates, most of whom were working for multinational companies.

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