Navdeep, the film and television actor who has worked in both Telugu as well as Tamil industries, appeared before the Enforcement Directorate on Monday in connection with the ongoing Tollywood money laundering and drugs case, ETimes reported.
According to the report, the actor was seen carrying an orange folder allegedly containing details of his bank transactions. Appearing before the ED with the owner of a pub Navdeep once owned, the actor was reportedly questioned regarding his finances and activities related to the pub.
Navdeep is one of many celebrities who are being questioned in Hyderabad in the four-year-old case. Other Telugu film personalities who have appeared before the ED so far include filmmaker Puri Jagannadh, actors Rana Daggubati, Rakul Preet Singh, Ravi Teja, and actor and producer Charmme Kaur. They were all sent summons in August and asked to present themselves for questioning on different dates.
The case dates back to July 2017, when the Telangana Excise and Prohibition Department seized drugs worth Rs 30 lakh and registered 12 cases. Huge quantities of LSD and cocaine were seized from 13 people, and it is said that the banned substances were distributed at rave parties in Goa and Hyderabad, as well as at pubs and educational institutions.
Later, the ED began looking into the money laundering angle of the drug racket.
The ED, which had issued notices to 12 people from the Telugu film industry under the Money Laundering Act, began its inquiry on August 31 with Jagannadh, the Telugu film director, screenwriter and producer, followed by Kaur on September 2.
After this, Singh, Daggubati and Teja appeared before the ED for questioning, and were all reportedly seen carrying with them bank statements and documents relating to their financial transactions. Some of the celebrities also brought along their chartered accountants.
“We will verify the financial transactions done by the 12 Tollywood celebrities summoned. If we find any evidence of money laundering, they will be named as accused. Otherwise, they will be treated as witnesses,” an ED source had told TOI earlier.
So far, all the celebrities who have been served notices have denied any role in the case, and the excise department has not filed any chargesheet against them due to lack of evidence.
According to NDTV, 30 people have been arrested and 62 questioned by the state’s excise department, out of which 11 are related to the film industry.