Leading filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma has accused the Prohibition and Excise Department of Telangana of targeting Tollywood celebrities in a drug racket case, but a top official trashed his allegation.
Varma, known for his controversial statements, said the department was using the film industry to make its existence felt.
He also wondered if the Special Investigation Team (SIT) will question school children who were using the drugs like they were grilling celebrities for hours.
"I am very much wondering if the school children taking drugs also will be summoned by SIT and interrogated for 12 hours like they are doing to Poori jagan and Subba Raju ... just asking?," he stated in a Facebook post.
"Of course everyone kind of knows it exists but first time everyone actually heard about this department only because they are using the film industry as a teaser trailer for people to come to know their existence," he said.
"Whatever the actual truth of the drugs matter, the law in its own course might tell or not tell, but for the moment Akun Sabharwal is being projected like Amarendra Bahubali by the media... Maybe S.S. Rajamouli should make 'Bahubali 3' with him," he remarked, sarcastically referring to the Director, Enforcement, Prohibition and Excise Department.
The film director's remarks drew flak from many people, who vent their feelings on social media.
"Nobody is denying the integrity of Sabharwal or his department but even without any charges or conclusive proof to allow the media leaks to destroy the reputations of people apart from causing distress to their families is highly deplorable," replied Varma.
The filmmaker's comments evoked condemnation from R. Chandravadan, Commissioner, Prohibition and Excise. He said it was unfortunate that some people were making comments which were demoralising for the officials.
Chandravadan said the department had taken the drug racket seriously and was investigating it from all angles within the legal framework. He said the officials were following the Supreme Court guidelines.
The official said the film personalities should act responsibly and added that the investigating team was getting cooperation.
SIT has summoned a dozen Tollywood celebrities for questioning. Director Puri Jagannadh, cinematographer Shyam K. Naidu and actor Subbaraju were grilled over three days. Actor Tarun was being questioned on Saturday.
The film personalities are being questioned about any drug dependence or whether they had any links with the accused arrested in the case.