The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Designers weave way out of drug-net
- Bidappa caught in Dubai, colleagues work the channels for quick release

Bangalore, June 14: Two grams of marijuana have done Prasad Bidappa in; actor Vijay Raaz could help him out.

The Bangalore-based fashion designer is now in detention in Dubai on charges of carrying the drug in his hand baggage. He was held on arrival at the airport on Saturday.

His colleagues in the fashion circuit ' Rohit Bal, Suneet Varma and Ashish Soni ' are, however, on the job. They are furiously networking to tap the raaz (secret) behind Raaz’s quick release so that they can use the same ploy to get Bidappa out.

The actor was detained in Dubai on February 23, 2005, on charges of possessing six grams of the drug when he landed for the shoot of Vikram Bhatt’s Diwaane Hue Paagal. But he managed to walk free after nine days in custody after a urine test cleared him.

“We are trying to find out the raaz behind Raaz’s release. He was caught with six grams of marijuana but came home within a short period. We must work the system because employing an advocate will only delay the case against Prasad,” a well-known fashion designer said.

He said Bidappa had signed a confessional statement to speed up his release instead of pleading not guilty and prolonging it.

A request would be made to liquor baron Vijay Mallya to put in a word for him, the designer said. “We are trying to reach everybody in the government who can help,” he said.

Officials at the Indian consulate in Dubai said Bidappa had been provided consular access.

“Our officials met him. We will provide assistance that is possible within the framework of the law. He has informed us he is being treated very well,” consul-general Yash Sinha said.

Bidappa’s wife Judith, a well-known theatre personality, confirmed her husband was in good hands. “Prasad called and told me he was being treated well and was confident everything would be cleared up soon.

“He and I, and our children, thank family and friends for standing solidly with us and ask for your good wishes for his quick and safe return to us,” she said in a statement.

Judith said her comments on smoking marijuana had been misquoted in some publications. “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.

“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.”

Bidappa’s fashion industry friends expressed shock at his detention. “We don’t know how marijuana landed in his baggage. We met for dinner on Friday and Prasad told me he had a flight to catch to Dubai the next morning.

“It’s difficult to say whether he picked up somebody’s bag in the office or if some model smoked a joint and stuffed the rest into the bag,” designer-friend Manoviraj Khosla said.

Another designer, Namrata G, said Bidappa was known not as an addict but as a professional with an eye for talent.

“He’s a very responsible man. We have not seen him do anything to doubt that he is an addict.”

Official sources said the fashion industry and Bidappa’s family had requested chief minister Dharam Singh to use his good offices to secure the designer’s release.

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