Puri Jagannadh, the Telugu film director, screenwriter and producer, was summoned and questioned by the Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday for 10 hours in connection to the money laundering case linked to a drug probe, ETimes reported.
Jagannadh was among several Telugu film personalities, including actors Rana Daggubati, Rakul Preet Singh, Ravi Teja, Mumaith Khan, and producer-actor Charmee Kaur, who were sent summons last week by the ED in relation to money laundering in a four-year-old drug trafficking case. The individuals have been instructed to appear for questioning on different dates.
The case 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 pubs and educational institutions.
Later, the ED began looking into the money laundering angle of the drug racket.
The Enforcement Directorate, which had issued notices to 12 people from the Telugu film industry under the Money Laundering Act, began its inquiry on Tuesday morning with Jagannadh. The filmmaker went to the ED office in Hyderabad along with his Chartered Accountant Sridhar and was reportedly questioned from several angles for nearly 10 hours.
According to ETimes, Jagannadh also forwarded the bank details of his three accounts, along with their transaction details from 2015, to the agency.
He reportedly also mentioned the name of the Telugu actor and producer Bandla Ganesh, who was then brought to the ED office and questioned. However, Ganesh later denied being questioned and said he had only gone there to check on Jagannadh.
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 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.