Yesterday hyd police have released names of the celebrities which were found in the call log of the nigerian drug dealer caught red handedly supplying cocaine to Ravi Teja’s brothers. The celebs who were in the list reacted on the issue.
Daggubati Rana, Kamna Jethmalani, Poonam Kaur and Nani said that they were ready for blood tests if the police suspected them. “Police should cross check before listing us as drug users. I have never even smoked in my life. Tollywood is a small industry and (phone) numbers of actors get circulated very easily. Holding that against us and tarnishing our image is uncalled for. I am even ready for a blood test to prove my innocence or the police can tap my phone too,” Kamna Jethmalani told this newspaper.
She said that she was in a state of shock since the allegations of substance abuse has come to light. “Forget drugs, I even hate smoking. The allegations are highly insulting for an artist,” she added. The actress said she shared good vibes with all her Tollywood friends and did not really know why anyone would trigger this “rumour” against her. “As far as my mobile number featuring in any drug peddler’s phone list is concerned, I have absolutely no clue,” she said.
Poonam Kaur had the same view, “I have never even had alcohol, leave alone cocaine. It is funny to see my name involved in this case,” she said.
Actor Nani meanwhile went from one TV channel to the next denying his association with drugs. “I heard that if one takes drugs, it stays in the blood for six months. I am ready for a blood test to prove my innocence. It is unfair for anyone to tarnish our image without proper investigation,” he said.
Refuting the allegations of cocaine use, actress Madhu Shalini said, “This whole episode is extremely annoying. It has taken a lot of hard work to build my career. I’m shocked to see my name on the list and this is adversely affecting my reputation. I don’t know if someone in Tollywood is trying to sabotage my image. All I ask is instead of spreading cheap rumours, let them come up with proof against me and then I’ll answer them. I don’t know how my phone number figured in the Nigerian’s phone but getting a phone number is not a big deal anyway. It’s available in any film directory or through indirect channels it may land up in unwanted cell phones.” When asked if she knew Ravi Teja’s brother, Bharat, she replied, “This is a very small industry and you bump into everyone connected to Tollywood in social circles but what matters is how well you know the person.”
Meanwhile, the Movie Artistes’ Association (MAA) of Tollywood has decided to adopt a “wait and watch” policy about the issue. “We don’t want to react right now. We are watching the situation. Names are coming up every day and we will wait for two more days before deciding on our stand,” actor Murali Mohan, president of Movie Artistes’ Association told this correspondent.
The film industry has gone into panic mode with many actors calling the police to enquire whether their names feature on the drug peddler’s cell phone. Many are also vowing not to enter pubs in the city for a few months thanks to the beating their images have taken over the issue.
Senior actor and member of the executive council of MAA, AVS said that the police should divulge the names of all actors involved in the drug issue and put an end to the “confusion” prevailing in the industry. “The film industry is not trying to shield anyone and it is annoying for cops to say they have a list of other actors involved in it and that they will divulge the names after investigation. We want them to reveal all the names they have and put an end to this confusion,” AVS said.
Actor-turned-politician Jeevitha Rajasekhar, on the other hand, defended the stars and said that while there are names of politicians’ kin and business personalities on the list, only the film stars’ involvement is being highlighted. He also said that the current accusations won’t affect the stars’ careers. “I don’t think stars like Trisha will take drugs. Would she be what she is today if she took drugs? It won’t affect their career or the way people perceive the industry. Just because the star is found talking to a person or the drug peddler has the contact detail of the actor, it can’t be concluded that the actor is a drug user,” she said.
Actors Uday Kiran and Raja also denied taking drugs and asked the police to thoroughly verify and investigate the matter.