LONDON: An Indian-origin director of British sportscar company Group Lotus was banned from driving for a year on Friday after being caught drink-driving on the roads of Norwich in the East Anglia region of England.
Uday Senapati, who is the product strategy and management director for the Norfolk-headquartered sports car company behind models like Evora and Elise, appeared at Norwich Magistrates Court charged with driving while over the legal alcohol limit last month.
"You cannot see someone who works for a world famous motor company not being able to drive. They [Lotus] seem to be able to make arrangements to keep him on," his lawyer Simon Nicholls told the court.
The court heard that Senapati had been on a night out with friends which had gone on later than planned. Before getting a taxi home, he decided to move his car to a car park to avoid a parking ticket the next day.
He was stopped by police as he tried to drive his black Volvo XC60 into the car park and was arrested after failing a breath test and taken to Wymondham police station in Norwich. "He had the best intentions- it's good mitigation but it's not a defence. It was more than just a few feet," Nicholls said.
Senapati was found to have 63 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, more than twice the legal limit of 35, during the incident on February 15.
The 40-year-old admitted drink driving and was banned from driving for 12 months and fined 1,850 pounds.
He has also been directed to pay 85 pounds towards legal costs and 170 pounds surcharge, besides undertaking a compulsory course for drink drivers. As part of his job, Senapati is responsible for signing off on new car models.
He took charge at the British sportscar maker last year and is a qualified automotive engineer, specialising in automotive refinement, aerodynamics and vehicle engineering. "Lotus has a tremendous sporting and racing heritage and is in the enviable position of having produced some of the world's most iconic sports cars," Senapati said at the time of his appointment in August 2018.
He also added that it is exciting "to work closely with some of the best people in the industry on bringing the next generation of advanced high-performance vehicles to market" as he looks forward to the challenges ahead.