Authorities probing the drug racket in Hyderabad will begin interrogating some Tollywood personalities in connection with the case from Wednesday, officials said on Tuesday. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Prohibition and Excise Department of Telangana will question the artists including some leading actors and actresses over the next 11 days. The SIT has summoned 12 Telugu film personalities for questioning. Officials have served them notices, asking them to appear in person between July 19 and July 30. Well known director Puri Jagannadh is scheduled to appear before the team on the first day. He, however, is likely to send his advocate as he is said to be busy with shooting. Actresses Charmee Kaur and Mumaith Khan are scheduled to be questioned on July 20 and July 21 respectively. As a notice could not be served on Mumaith Khan, a SIT team has rushed to Mumbai, where the actress is shooting for a Telugu reality show. Mumaith, actors Navdeep, Subbaraju and other celebrities have denied using drugs. Leading actor Ravi Teja is scheduled to appear on July 24. Her mother Rajyalakshmi told the media on Monday that he does not take drugs and is not involved in the racket. She said her son would appear before the authorities to give an explanation. Actors Tarun, Nandu and Tanish, cinematographer Shyam K Naidu and art director Chinna are among other film personalities who have been summoned by the investigators on the basis of the evidence gathered from the accused.
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 Mascraenhas, the alleged 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.
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The racket caused a sensation as the 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 check the menace. So far, 13 people have been arrested including US citizen Dundu Anish, an aerospace engineer who had earlier worked with the NASA.