Britain's foreign office can do little for I-Flex CEO

Monday, 31 March 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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Indian officials have taken up the arrest of I-Flex chief executive Senthil Kumar with the foreign office here, but British officials assert there is little they can do because the case is before a court.

LONDON: Kumar was arrested following an Interpol alert over a complaint filed against his company in Amsterdam that 14 of its employees were working in the Netherlands without proper work permits. Once the complaint was forwarded to British police they were bound under European Union arrangements to arrest him though they have nothing against him. Kumar now finds himself where he least expected, the notorious Brixton jail in south London. The British magistrate before whom he was produced refused bail to Kumar, and he will remain in Brixton prison until next week on judicial remand. Kumar was arrested Wednesday and remanded the following day. Kumar has been accused of involvement in providing false references for a number of the company employees to come to work in Holland. He is expected to face charges in Holland if he can be extradited. Kumar has the option to contest any extradition move. If he challenges that move, the magistrate's court in London will become de facto a trial court to inquire into the charges against him. The I-Flex office in Mumbai has said that the visa documents of all employees in Amsterdam are in order. It said the employees were on business visa while their work permits were being processed. The I-Flex statements are expected to form the basis of moves by Kumar first to secure bail and then to resist extradition. The Indian government has slammed the arrests and accused the Netherlands of practising "neo-protectionism" by putting barriers in the free flow of professionals and services under the World Trade Organisation. India is in touch with Britain and the Netherlands for the release of Kumar and the 14 company officials.
Source: IANS