St. Jude Medical’s (NYSE:STJ) chief executive officer Daniel Starks was free to travel inside India on Thursday, a day after authorities detained him for having a single round of live ammunition on him at the Delhi airport.
“Mr. Starks is respectful of the local process and has decided to remain in India until this misunderstanding is completely cleared up,” St. Jude spokeswoman Marisa Bluestone said in an e-mail statement. She said there are no formal charges against Starks.
There are still many unanswered questions about the incident. According to media reports, Starks was in India on business. He was about to take a chartered flight from the Indira Gandhi International Airport to Dharamsala, which happens to be the home of the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama. (Bluestone didn’t respond to a question about whether Starks was going to see his holiness. Being a fan of the Dalai Lama might be a tricky situation for a CEO whose company does business in China.)
Bluestone said in her e-mail that Starks was “temporarily detained by airport police on March 16 after a single shell was inadvertently left in an item of his clothing.” When pressed about why he would have live ammo at an airport, Bluestone said Starks is a “sportsman and has a valid license to possess a firearm in the U.S.” She added that Starks didn’t have a firearm on him when he was detained.
Media reports say Starks had a 45-caliber shell in his pants. Such a caliber is most often associated with a handgun. So did he absentmindedly leave a bullet in his pocket while shooting at a firing range?
“He will remain in India while the remaining process associated with this misunderstanding is completed,” Bluestone said. St. Jude Medical has a significant presence in India, so Starks will run the company from its Indian facilities while he remains in the South Asian country.