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REUTERS/MANAV MANGLANI
On the wrong side of the law.
BOMBAY SMOKING

The scion of one of India’s biggest conglomerates was arrested for possessing drugs

By Pramod Mathew

The scion of one of India’s most storied conglomerates, the Wadia group, was sentenced to a two-year suspended jail term in Japan for the possession of drugs, and then released.

Ness Wadia, the eldest son of the nearly three-century-old Wadia group’s chairman, Nusli Wadia, was arrested in early March at the New Chitose Airport, while arriving for a holiday in the island nation, the Financial Times (FT) reported on April 30. Customs officials found “about 25g of what appeared to be cannabis resin in his (Wadia’s) trouser pocket,” the report said, citing a Japanese radio station.

The daily also quoted a court official saying that Wadia admitted to the crime. The tycoon argued it was for his personal use. Wadia had to spend some time in detention in Japan before a district court handed him the two-year prison sentence, which was later “suspended for five years,” according to FT. Wadia has since left Japan.

Wadia is the co-owner of the Kings XI Punjab cricket team in the popular Indian tournament Indian Premier League (IPL). He is also on the boards of many Wadia group businesses. The conglomerate owns entities ranging from biscuit maker Britannia Industries and budget airline GoAir to textile maker Bombay Dyeing.

He has been in news for the wrong reasons before, too. Bollywood star Preity Zinta accused him of molestation and intimidation in 2014.

Shares of the Wadia group’s flagship Bombay Dyeing were trading 11% down on BSE in afternoon trade.