Will drug racket probe reach logical end?

Hyderabad, July 16: After sending shock waves in educational institutions, the startling facts emerging from the investigations in Hyderabad-based drug racket have now rocked the Telugu film industry.

Close on the heels of sensational finding that students of several colleges and schools in the city are using the drugs, the enforcement wing of the Prohibition and Excise department dropped a bombshell that many Tollywood personalities are linked to the racket.

It all had started early this month with the authorities busting a well-organised drug racket in the city.

The investigators too were shocked by the revelation of the accused that many students of city’s reputed private international schools are their customers. Students of even 8thand 9th class were identified as substance users.

The students, some as young as 13, are using highly destructive drugs like LSD and MDMA. Psychiatrists say these drugs impact the brain functions of the users.

Both LSD and MDMA, referred to as “recreational” drugs, have devastating impact on an individual’s health and future.

Enforcement director Akun Sabharwal wrote letters to over 50 colleges and schools, asking their managements to take necessary steps to check the menace.

The officer did not name the students or educational institutions. However, the names of few colleges and schools were doing the rounds in social media.

The accused arrested by enforcement wing are also young and highly educated. They include employees of multi-national companies and an event manager.

The case took a dramatic turn when Special Investigation Team (SIT)  served notices on film personalities linked to the racket. Though SIT has not announced any name, some stars came before media to admit that they received the notices but denied using the drugs. These actors including Navdeep and Subbaraju said the summons were merely on the ground that their contact numbers were found in the call list of the accused.

Names of director Puri Jagannadh, actors Ravi Teja, Tarun, Tanish, Nandu, Charmee Kaur, Mumaith Khan and others were also doing the rounds.

SIT has asked 12 Tollywood personalities to appear before it between July 19 and 27. The officials trying to find out if they are only using the narcotic substance or were also involved in drug peddling.

When the investigations were on, the case took another turn on Friday when it was announced that Sabharwal is going on leave for 10 days.

This triggered speculations that he is under pressure from some politicians to go slow. Opposition parties were quick to slam TRS government for trying to shield the accused.

The next day Sabharwal announced that he was postponing his 10-day leave. He said he would not go on leave till completion of the probe. He also claimed that the government is fully supporting him.

It is believed that some politicians were unhappy with the officer for allegedly leaking names of some educational institutions to media.

With the names of rich and famous cropping up in the investigations so far, it is believed that Sabhwaral  is under pressure from some quarters not to act tough.

It remains to be seen whether the IPS officer gets a free hand to take the probe to a logical conclusion and ensure strong action against the guilty.

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