Release of Indian designer: Courts still in the dark

DUBAI/BANGALORE — Fashion guru Prasad Bidappa’s release from detention in Dubai on Saturday appears to be shrouded in mystery, with officials at the Dubai Criminal Court maintaining that he was still in custody, while the man himself, accused of being in possession of marijuana, is in Bangalore, terra firma.

By Amira Agarib And Prerna Suri

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Published: Mon 18 Jul 2005, 10:15 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:44 PM

Bidappa, who was detained in Dubai more than a month ago for possessing marijuana, returned to Bangalore yesterday evening. He was detained at Dubai airport on June 12, and is understood to have been released following a mercy petition filed by his wife, Judith.

A close aide of Bidappa told Khaleej Times that the family did not wished to be disturbed. Judith and their two children accompanied the fashion consultant during his return journey to Bangalore. That leads one to the question: Have the Dubai Courts been kept in the dark regarding Bidappa’s release?

Court officials insisted that he was in custody, and that Bidappa would not be released till his trial scheduled for July 27 was completed.

“We have not received any information or communication about a pardon for Bidappa. According to our records, he will have to be present for the July 27 hearing,” Judge Aysar Ahmed Fouada of the Dubai Criminal Court, said.

Judge Fouda, who is hearing the Bidappa case, said the court had adjourned his case to July 27 and it would be mandatory for him to be present then. The general prosecution at the Dubai court was also unaware of Bidappa’s release. “According to our records, Bidappa was under airport detention till July 13. But we don't have any information about his alleged release,” officials said.

Jasim at the Plaintiff Section, Trial Section, of Dubai Court told ‘Khaleej Times’ that Bidappa was still under arrest. A source said the reason for the confusion could be because the courts were not informed about the pardon. Legal experts who worked on the case said the court would be informed of Bidappa's release only on the day of his scheduled trial.

Indian consulate officials, however, also confirmed that Bidappa had indeed left for Bangalore on Saturday evening accompanied by his wife. “Bidappa has reached Bangalore, afer he left Dubai on Saturday night,” Acting Consul-General R. K. Kapil said, adding: “He received his passport and was pardoned based on the mercy petition filed by his wife.”

Meanwhile, in Bangalore, Bidapa refused to entertain telephone calls from reporters, but sent word through his aides that he would convene a Press conference in Bangalore on Monday. Bidapa’s return has come as a major relief to the Bangalore fashion world, which was hoping for an early release. “Finally, his ordeal has ended,” said fashion photographer Haseeb Khan.

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