Hyderabad, Jul 17 (PTI) Expanding its probe into the organised drug trade, the Telangana Excise department has decided to issue notices to the managements of pubs and bars in the city as part of a sensitisation programme to check the drug menace.

The move came in the wake of the directions given by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao who yesterday asked the police and excise officials to intensify the investigation into the incidents of the illicit drug trade and to make Hyderabad a drug-free city and Telangana a drug-free state, an Excise official said today.

The state Prohibition and Excise department had busted a racket selling high-end narcotics like MDMA and LSD earlier this month and has so far arrested 13 persons.

The department is also probing the alleged links of certain Tollywood personalities with the drug peddlers, and had issued notices to a total of 12 persons asking them to remain present before the authorities from July 19 onwards.

According to the official, the notices will be issued to managements of all the 220 bars and pubs in the city, beginning with those located in posh areas of Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills.

“We are in the process of issuing notices to pubs and bars in Hyderabad city. A meeting will be soon conducted with managements of bars in this regard to sensitise them on the menace of narcotics,” Deputy Commissioner (Prohibition and Excise-Hyderabad) Vivekananda Reddy told PTI.

“We will explain to them that no drugs or any other narcotics substances is sold, consumed or exchanged within their premises. They will also be told that punitive action will be initiated against those pubs and bars, if any, which are found to violating the rules,” he said.

Meanwhile, another senior official said there are some “unclear” clues cum information that some pubs and bars are becoming a rendezvous point for drug users and peddlers.

“Since the information is uncertain, it does not warrant any immediate action. But we will not take a chance.

We want to minimise any of such instances (drug usage or distribution). Though, the department regularly carries out inspection at the pubs and bars, so far we have not noticed any such act. It is the responsibility of pubs to ensure that banned stuff is not used in their premises,” he said.

Addressing a high-level meeting at Pragati Bhavan here yesterday, Rao expressed an urgent need to protect the brand Hyderabad.

He had asked the investigators to not spare anybody, irrespective of his or her standing, including politicians, if that is the case. The CM had said there would not be any political interference in the investigation.

After exposing the racket on July 2, the investigators found that the gang catered to about 1,000 customers, including students of city-based schools and colleges, a film producer, and some senior officials of MNCs and employees of IT firms in Cyberabad.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.