Hyderabad, April 3
Tollywood actor Naga Babu's daughter and actor Niharika Konidela and singer Rahul Sipligunj were among 144 people detained by police for partying at a pub in Hyderabad beyond the stipulated hours.
The pub at Radisson Blu Hotel in posh Banjara Hills was raided around 3 a.m. by Task Force personnel of Hyderabad City Police, who also found cocaine and other banned substances from the premises.
Those found partying also include daughter of a former Director General of Andhra Pradesh Police and a son of a MP belonging to Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and children of some other well-known personalities.
As the police found some packets of cocaine and after the place was raided, some of those partying threw away the packets, police whisked away those present in the pub to the nearby Banjara Hills police station and questioned them.
Ironically, singer and winner of Big Boss Telugu reality show Rahul Sipligunj, who was among those detained, was part of "drug-free Hyderabad" campaign launched by the police. He sang a song as part of the campaign.
Meanwhile, Naga Babu issued a video statement clarifying that though her daughter Niharika was present there, she had done nothing wrong. He said the police have made it clear that she was not at fault. "Our conscience is clear," said Naga Babu, who is brother of superstar Chiranjeevi.
Naga Babu appealed to social media and mainstream media not to spread "unwanted speculations" about Niharika.
Those detained include 33 women and some staff members of the pub, which was found violating the rules by allowing the party beyond permitted hours. The pub had reportedly become notorious for supply of banned substances and was also serving liquor to outsiders though it had license only to serve the hotel guests.
Taking a serious note of these violations and the police station concerned failing to act, Hyderabad Police Commissioner C.V. Anand suspended Station House Officer of Banjara Hills Police Station and issued a charge memo to Assistant Commissioner of Police, Banjara Hills, M. Sudarshan.
Action was taken against them afor their negligence towards their legitimate duties in the control of narcotics in pubs and bars.
The raid comes amid an intensified drive by the police against the drug menace. The recent death of an engineering graduate due to overdose of drugs and the involvement of some educated youth and techies in drug peddling and consumption has alarmed the authorities.
The police and newly formed Hyderabad Narcotics Enforcement Wing (H-NEW) is not only acting tough against peddlers but also booking cases against those found to be consuming the drugs.