Japan drug case isn't Ness Wadia's first brush with law, controversy

Ness Wadia | File photo: PTI
Ness Wadia, 47, the eldest son of Wadia group chairman, Nusli Wadia, is no stranger to controversy. In the latest controversy to hit the scion of the Wadia family, the Hokkaido station of Japan’s NHK reported that Customs officials in Japan arrested Wadia in early March after a search revealed that he was carrying cannabis – a banned substance -- to Japan. Ness, who was in Japan for skiing, was detained and the Sapporo District Court later handed him a two-year prison sentence for drug possession, which was suspended for five years.

"Ness is now back in India. The judgement 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," said a Wadia group spokesperson.

The story was first reported by Financial Times.

Ness, who owns stake in Punjab Kings XI cricket team, made headline in 2014 when actor Preity Zinta complained to Mumbai Police and later to Bombay High Court against Ness Wadia saying he attacked her just before a IPL match in June 2014. The fight between the former couple started over seats at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai which were occupied by Zinta and her friends while Ness and his mother Maureen, who arrived late, were not offered seats reserved for the Kings XI team.

The matter was later settled out of court and the court dismissed the case in October last year.

Though Ness, who loves high-end cars, is on the board of all Wadia group companies including biscuit maker, Britannia and Bombay Dyeing, his father put him in charge of Bombay Burmah Trading Corp Ltd as its managing director.  He is also looking after the charity initiatives of the group.

On Tuesday, the stocks of Wadia group companies, including Bombay Dyeing and Bombay Burmah, declined after the media reported Wadia’s arrest.  Bombay Burmah was trading 3.5 per cent down while Bombay Dyeing stock was down 11 per cent in the afternoon trades. “This is a knee jerk reaction of the stock markets as Ness is not looking after day-to-day management of any key company,” said a market analyst.  “Almost all Wadia group companies are professionally run and its Jeh Wadia, the younger son of the billionaire group patriarch, Nusli Wadia, who is more hands on in the management of the company," say insiders.

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