The arrest and subsequent suspension of five-year sentence to Ness Wadia, heir to the 283-year-old Wadia Group and co-owner of Indian Premier League (IPL) team Kings XI Punjab, will not affect his position as director of the board of companies.
Ness is the director in major firms of the Wadia Group, including Bombay Dyeing and Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation Ltd.
However, according to a report on NDTV, Wadia's arrest could lead to the suspension of Kings XI Punjab team from the IPL. As per the Operational Rules of IPL, no team official can act in a manner which brings disrepute to the team, the league, the BCCI or the game on or off the field. If guilty, the person's action can even lead to suspension of the team, the report said.
— CricketNDTV (@CricketNDTV) May 1, 2019
Reacting to the report, a Wadia Group spokesperson said Ness was in India. “The judgment is clear. It is a suspended sentence. Hence, it will not impact Ness Wadia in the discharge of any of his responsibilities and he will continue to play the role that he has done hitherto, both within the group and outside,” the spokesperson added.
Wadia, one of India's richest men, is believed to have been on a skiing trip in Japan when he was caught. The New Chitose Airport, where he was caught, functions as a popular transit point for skiers looking to travel to locations like Niseko, Sapporo, Furano and Rusutsu.
Wadia's arrest was aired on NHK's Hokkaido station and accessed by The Financial Times. The report said sniffer dogs had alerted customs officials at Hokkaido's New Chitose Airport to Wadia.
On searching him, Japanese officials found 25 grams of “what appeared to be cannabis resin in his trouser pocket”. This occurred in early March, and Wadia was promptly arrested under Japan's stringent narcotics laws and sentenced to a two-year jail term.
According to the report, the Sapporo District Court handed Wadia a two-year prison sentence, which was suspended for five years.
He spent a period in detention before his indictment on 20 March and an undisclosed period of detention before a court hearing, it added.
Ness is the son of Nusli Wadia, a British-Parsi businessman, entrepreneur and chairman of the Wadia Group. Nusli Wadia's maternal grandfather is the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Ness was the joint managing director of Bombay Dyeing, the flagship company of the Wadia Group, till March 2011 when he stepped down from the post and is now a co-owner of the Indian Premier League cricket team Kings XI Punjab.
This is not the first time Wadia has had a run-in with the law. In 2014, his then partner Preity Zinta had lodged a complaint against him, alleging that he had molested and abused her by grabbing her arm during an IPL match at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.
The last hearing of the case saw a judge advising them that they "resolve the matter" within their personal capacities.
With PTI inputs
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Updated Date: May 01, 2019 12:46:44 IST