(Eds: Updating with quotes of actor, SIT officials) Hyderabad, Jul 31 (PTI) Telugu actor Tanish Alladi was today questioned for four hours by Telangana excise department’s SIT as part of an ongoing probe into the online drug racket busted by it earlier this month. Also Read - Hyderabad Student Who Faked Rape, Abduction 2 Weeks Ago Dies by Suicide
“The questioning started at 10:30 am and ended at 2:30 pm,” excise officials said. Also Read - Bengali Actor Yash Dasgupta, Several Others Join BJP Ahead of West Bengal Elections 2021
After leaving the SIT office, Alladi told media persons that he had replied to the questions asked by the SIT officials. Also Read - 'Another Phase of Greatest Witch Hunt', Says Donald Trump After US Senate Acquits Him in Historic Impeachment Trial
“Say no to drugs…please… while conveying the news, present it in a decent way…it will be good for our families…because it has created a lot of disturbance to my family,” he said.
The actor, who started his career as a child artiste, has acted in 19 movies.
He is among the 12 personalities, including actors and directors, from the Telugu film industry (popularly known as Tollywood), to be summoned by the SIT in connection with the case.
During the investigation into the drug racket that was busted here on July 2, names of some members of Tollywood had cropped up.
The SIT is questioning them to find out if they had any links with the racket as consumers or suppliers, or with those arrested, the excise officials had said.
Actor Ananda Krishna alias Nandu is expected to appear before the SIT tomorrow, according to officials.
Since July 19, the SIT has questioned filmmaker Puri Jagannadh, cinematographer Shyam K Naidu, actors P Subba Raju, Tarun Kumar, P Navdeep and Ravi Teja, actresses Charmi Kaur and Mumaith Khan, art director Dharma Rao alias Chinna, and Srinivasa Rao, who had earlier worked as car driver with Teja.
The proceedings have been videographed and some among those questioned have given their consent for taking the samples of their body fluids, hair and nails, while others refused, an SIT official said.
Excise officials said those questioned so far have cooperated with the investigators, and some of them gave “certain clues” in connection with the racket.
So far, 20 people have been arrested, including a US citizen, a Dutch national, and seven B Tech degree holders employed with multinational companies in Hyderabad.
Under the racket, high-end drugs such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) were being supplied.
Investigators suspect that the gang’s clientele included nearly 1,000 customers, including students of city-based schools and colleges, people associated with Tollywood, senior officials of MNCs and employees of IT firms in Cyberabad.
The racketeers placed orders through ‘Darknet’ (a restricted online network frequently used in illegal activities) and the drugs were delivered by couriers including from overseas, the officials had said.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.