Chikoti Praveen and Co., choked, fumbled during ED quizzing

Casino King Praveen Chikoti and others were questioned by the ED for 11 hours on Monday.


HYDERABAD: Casino King Praveen Chikoti and others, who came under the radar of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for violating the regulations of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) for doing hawala transactions, were questioned by the ED for 11 hours on Monday. Feeling the heat from the barrage of questions that the investigating sleuths fired, the accused reportedly choked, struggled for words and fumbled several times while furnishing their answers.

It is learnt that the ED trained its guns largely to elicit information to see if there was any involvement of political figures, film celebrities (Tollywood and Bollywood) and other VVIPs in their foreign transactions and hawala activities. The ED based its questions on Praveen Kumar's daily activities including WhatsApp chats, phone calls and information stored on his laptop.

The officials focused on the functioning of the casinos and moving celebrities to Nepal, Bangkok and other countries in private flights, diversion of large amounts of foreign exchange, gold smuggling into the country among other aspects. Reportedly, the casino events were held using tokens of various amounts which was later transferred through foreign exchange or they were given huge amounts of cash.

The ED sleuths are also said to have extracted information with regard to accounts in foreign banks through which transactions of large amounts have been done.

It was also found that money was transferred to movie stars who campaigned promoting casinos. Meanwhile, the ED has also issued notices to a few others whose names cropped during the questioning of the accused including Chikoti Praveen.

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