Hyderabad: Tollywood actor Ravi Teja appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday in connection with the ongoing money laundering probe allegedly linked to the 2017 drug racket.

This was the second time that Ravi Teja appeared before the investigators in this case. His driver Srinivas also received summons from the ED for questioning. In 2017, the actor had appeared before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the Prohibition and Excise department to probe the drugs racket. He was grilled for 10 hours.

Ravi Teja is the sixth person to be summoned this time after director Puri Jagannath, actresses Charmee Kaur and Rakul Preet Singh, and actors Rana Dagubbati and Nandu who have already appeared before the ED and submitted their bank statements.

The case was filed by SIT in 2017. It had filed 11 charge sheets in 12 cases booked mostly against small-time drug peddlers. Though Telugu cinema celebrities were summoned, not a single case was registered against them due to lack of evidence.

ED is investigating the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). It is to be noted that ED first started the probe on 20 November 2020 when it shot off a letter to the Excise and Prohibition department.

Pertinently, the drug case was put into cold storage for four years. ED's summons has once again brought the focus on the case which exposed the alleged drug cartel in the Telugu film industry.

A highly-placed source told NewsMeter that investigation into the drug racket has gathered steam after the demise of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

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