At least 15 personalities from the Telugu film industry are suspected to be involved in the sensational drug racket busted in Hyderabad last week, officials said on Thursday. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Enforcement Wing of Prohibition and Excise (P&E) Department has sent notices to these personalities to personally appear before it between July 19 and July 27.
While the number of artists from Tollywood linked to the racket was said to be 10 till Wednesday, Enforcement Director Akun Sabharwal on Thursday said some more people from the industry were identified for suspected substance abuse. He said the people from Tollywood were identified based on the call data of the mobiles of the accused already arrested in the case. The accused were selling drugs to the students of several schools and colleges in Hyderabad.
Officials said the material gathered so far during the investigation indicate that Tollywood personalities were using cocaine, LSD, MDMA and other drugs. Those identified reportedly include two popular male and a female actor and a leading director. The husband of a popular musician is also said to be involved. The officials are trying to find out if they were also involved in drug peddling. The Movie Artists’ Association (MAA) has warned the artists against drug abuse and asked them to mend their ways. Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce President D. Suresh Babu said the film industry could not afford to have its image tarnished because of a few individuals getting into drugs.
Meanwhile, the SIT arrested another accused in drug racket, taking the number of people arrested to 13. Those already arrested include a musician from the film industry. P&E officials said over 1,000 students were using drugs. Authorities have already issued notices to over 50 schools and colleges, whose students were involved. The parents and educational institutions have been asked to take necessary steps to prevent the students from buying drugs.