Just a few months after the reputation of several popular stars from the Telugu film industry took a beating when their names cropped up in the Hyderabad drug racket, members of the Malayalam industry may be in for a similar treatment after it came to light that the 4.5 kg of cocaine seized from a Filipino woman at Kochi airport on January 1 was meant for filmstars in Kerala.
Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) officials had nabbed the woman after they found her carrying the drugs in her trolley, which she had given as her check-in luggage. She had reportedly smuggled it into India from Sao Paulo in Brazil, via Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and Muscat in Oman.
On interrogating her they found out the woman's link in Kerala who carries out activities for an international drug cartel which is based in Brazil.
"One Ben Korachi is controlling the drug cartel being operated from Sao Paulo. The Filipino woman, Jhonna De Torres, 36, was among four carriers used to smuggle in drugs to the region. She was scheduled to stay at a luxury hotel in Kochi till January 3 when the local agents were supposed to meet her and take possession of the consignment. The probe is now focused on the two persons based in northern Kerala," NCB sources told Deccan Chronicle.
The investigating officers thought that the destination of the consignment was Goa, owing to the fact that it is a hotbed of drug users. However, on scanning through her phone they realised the cocaine was meant for Mollywood stars, according to local reports.
"During interrogation, we understood that she had no clear idea as to where the consignment was originally destined for. She was merely a carrier. The detailed forensic inspection of her mobile phone and call records gave us vital information," an official added.
The woman was produced before the Ernakulam principal and sessions court on Friday.
It remains to be seen whether further investigations reveal the names of Mollywood stars in connection with this drug bust.
It may be noted that high-profile Tollywood actors like Navdeep, Charmme Kaur and Mumaith Khan were questioned by the Special Investigation Team investigating the Hyderabad drug racket.