Ravi Teja, the actor who primarily works in Telugu cinema, appeared before the Enforcement Directorate in Hyderabad on Thursday, as per an ETimes report. He was summoned in connection to the ongoing investigation into money laundering in a four-year old drug case.
Actors Rana Daggubati and Rakul Preet Singh had also appeared before the ED earlier for questioning in connection to the case. And before them, filmmaker Puri Jagannadh and actor Charmee Kaur were questioned by the ED. Actor Mumaith Khan, meanwhile, has been asked to appear on November 15.
The Tollywood celebrities were all called in as witnesses in the case that dates back to July 2017, when the Telangana Excise and Prohibition Department had 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 in pubs and educational institutions.
Later, the ED began an investigation 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.
Teja reportedly arrived at the ED office along with his chartered accountant to explain the transfer of money to an individual named Kelvin, and other accounts abroad. Kelvin had been jointly questioned with Daggubati and his interrogation was set to continue on Thursday as well, reported ETimes.
“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 earlier told TOI.
All celebrities questioned in the case so far brought along their bank statements, with Singh reportedly seen carrying files while Daggubati carried a laptop.
The celebrities have all denied any role in the case, and the Special Investigation Team of the excise department did not file any chargesheet against the actors 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.