They're treating me well, says Bidapa from cell

DUBAI - "They are treating me very well and I will definitely abide by the UAE's local laws," said a calm Prasad Bidapa from his detention cell.



By Prerna Suri

Published: Tue 14 Jun 2005, 10:59 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:58 PM

Speaking to Khaleej Times in a very short phone call, the Bangalore based fashion designer reassured all concerned that he was doing well and keeping in good spirits.

The 50-year-old was arrested on Saturday at the Dubai International Airport on charges of possessing drugs. He was travelling from Bangalore and was allegedly caught with 2 grams of marijuana (ganja) found in his hand baggage.

Meanwhile, his wife Judith Bidapa said that she was misquoted in certain segments of the media which claimed that Bidapa was a regular smoker of marijuana.

"I have already been misquoted in a few publications. So I wish to clarify my statements that what is permissible in some cultures may be a crime in others including public displays of affection, dress code, the consumption of alcohol or even chewing gum. The issue here is not whether my husband smokes marijuana. It is that he was found carrying it in a country that does not permit this," she said.

She is now planning to visit Dubai soon, said a family friend.

Lawyers say that Bidapa may face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty of possessing drugs.

"The UAE drug laws are very clear on drug offenders with conviction rates being quite high. If the test results show that he had banned substances in his body, then he would be looking at between 2 and 15 years at least," said Mustafa Zafeer, advocate and legal adviser.

The Indian consulate has said that Bidapa is detained at the Rashidiya police station and that his case is pending with the public prosecutor.

"One of our consuls met with Bidapa and was satisfied with his condition," he said.

Sinha denied that any preferential treatment was being meted out to Bidapa due to his high-profile status. "This is absolutely incorrect. We are not giving him any preferential treatment and we are providing assistance to him like any other Indian citizen. Let us see what the public prosecution recommends and then we will see how best we function under the laws of the land," he said.

A lawyer has been appointed for Bidapa's case and the trial is scheduled to begin soon.

Bidapa, known for his flamboyant lifestyle, is credited with putting Bangalore on the fashion world map. He is known to have launched the careers of several top models like Dino Morea, Vidhisha Pavate, Lara Dutta and the late Nafisa Joseph. He is the latest in a series of high-profile Indians to be caught with narcotics in Dubai.`

OTHER ARRESTS

Actor Vijay Raaz was detained at Dubai airport on charges of possessing drugs on February 13. He was in Dubai to shoot for an upcoming film. He returned to Mumbai on February 23.

The Dubai Police had arrested restaurateur and Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi's son, Farhan Azmi, for smoking cigarettes laced with drugs on October 20, 2003. Three other prominent socialites had also been arrested along with Farhan, including car designer Dilip Chhabria's son, Bobby and Shaan Sippy. All were released later.

Fashion world stunned

From our correspondent

BANGALORE - The arrest of image consultant and choreographer Prasad Bidapa in Dubai on charges of possessing narcotic substances has stunned the fashion world in Bangalore.

Director of Fortune Institute of Fashion Technology Manjula Ramachandran told Khaleej Times that Bidapa carried with him the reputation of the entire fashion world in Bangalore.

"It will have a deleterious effect on the young and aspiring models of today," she said.

Though Bidapa is known as a "fashion guru" in celebrity circuits, few people knew he had this "weakness". "Now, it is in the open," she said.

Raghavendra J. Prabhat, who runs Prabhat Costume Designers in Bangalore, felt that people like Prasad Bidapa should conduct themselves in a more responsible manner.

Prabhat could vaguely recollect a role played by Bidapa in a Kannada movie more than two decades ago, ironically on the ill-effects of drug abuse. The movie produced by late Kannada film actor Shankar Nag Accident featured Bidapa and sought to create an awareness among the youth about the pitfalls of narcotic abuse, Prabhat said.


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