HYDERABAD: The Telugu film industry is astir with speculation about the names of 10 personalities who are probed for involvement in drug abuse. If the Excise Department of Telangana has its way, all these Tollywood personalities, except two women stars among them, will appear before the officials in their office any day between July 19 and 27.
While the men (who have been served notices) will appear before the officials in their office, the actresses have the choice of presenting themselves before the officials at any other place of their choice, as mandated under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
“One actress spoke to the SIT officials and said she would communicate the place of questioning shortly,’’ a source said.
The detectives are preparing to grill the stars on the basis of their call records and the WhatsApp messages these 10 personalities sent to drug dealers.Top sources said that so far 10 Tollywood personalities have been served notices and more personalities are likely to be summoned in the days to come.
The 10 who are under the scanner presently are quite a motley crew. One of them is a winner of a Nandi Special Jury award and is considered one of the highest paid actors in Tollywood. Another is a three-time Nandi award-winning director whose Mahesh Babu starrer was a blockbuster in 2006.
There are two female stars in the list: one worked with superstar Amitabh Bachchan in a Bollywood flick and the other, based in Mumbai, is well-known for her item songs. Besides them, there is a famous cinematographer who is known for his work in a 2006 blockbuster.
These names and a few more figure in a list of A list stars and directors who were regularly buying LSD and cocaine from three drug dealers: Calvin Mascarenhas (who was caught with LSD and MDMA) and Zeeshan Ali and a Nigerian national Bernard Wilson (who were caught selling cocaine).
More names of Tollywood personalities are likely to come up in the days to come.
“Eight of the stars on our current list were in constant touch with Calvin and bought LSD from him while the top actor purchased cocaine. Sometimes, his car driver purchased the substance on his behalf. All of them have been served notices. This evening, we got acknowledgements from five of them including one of the Tollywood actresses,’’ a source said Thursday.
Two other actors are familiar to the Hyderabad police from their previous escapades relating to drugs and drunken driving. One of them was a winner of the National film award for best child artiste.
There is also another Tollywood artiste who has worked in the mega blockbuster. Sources said all the names surfaced during interrogation of Calvin and Zeeshan.
Thereafter, their call data records were obtained and the numbers of Tollywood personalities were ascertained. Besides, the officials also came across WhatsApp chats between them.
Recently, the Telangana Excise Department conducted extensive raids in and around Hyderabad during which 700 ‘squares’ of LSD, each costing `3,000 and worth Rs 21 lakh in total, and 35 gm of MDMA worth Rs 1.4 lakh were seized.
Besides Calvin, who is a small-time musician, the other accused are Abdul Quddos who works for a private firm, Abdul Wahab a student.Later, the excise officials busted another gang selling cocaine and arrested one Zeeshan Ali and a Nigerian national Bernard Wilson.
All entry routes into city under strict vigil
The dragnet to nab drug smugglers and peddlers is not limited to one or two suspects. All entry routes into Hyderabad — land and air are under surveillance. However, there is another route used to procure drugs — Cyber route. State Police’s Intelligence wing will help police to get details into drug purchases through darknet.