India protests Jain's arrest, Polaris shares crash
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India protests Jain's arrest, Polaris shares crash

Wednesday, 18 December 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India Tuesday strongly protested to Indonesia against the detention of the chief of an Indian software company in Jakarta as the news of his detention sent company shares crashing on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Indonesian Ambassador Zakaria Soemintaatmdja was called to the external affairs ministry to convey New Delhi's strong protest against the arrest of Polaris Software chief Arun Jain.

Simultaneously, India's Charge d' Affaires in Jakarta Amar Sinha called at the Indonesian foreign office to deliver a similar message.

Following reports of Jain's detention, shares of Polaris Software went into a tizzy in early trade on the Bombay Stock Exchange Tuesday.

At noon, Polaris stock was quoted at 173.85, a loss of nearly six percent over its previous session's close.

Officials said New Delhi was making all-out efforts for the release of Jain, chairman and managing director of Polaris Software, who has been detained by the Indonesian police following a commercial dispute between the Chennai-based company and a bank in Jakarta.

"We have had a meeting with IT Minister Pramod Mahajan and we are taking all possible steps to ensure that Jain is released at the earliest," said an official of the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom).

"We have approached the highest authorities in Indonesia and we are hopeful of an early resolution of the dispute. We believe the detention is very illegal and all commercial disputes can be settled through negotiations," he added.

The Telecom Equipment Manufacturers' Association of India (TEMA) expressed shock over the arrest of Jain and Rajiv Malhotra, senior vice president of Polaris.

"This is highly deplorable because the alleged dispute is a pure commercial matter between two entities and arrest in such cases of Indian nationals in Indonesia is totally uncalled for and a matter of serious concern for all of us," it said in a statement here.

"TEMA feels that such action of illegal detention by Indonesia will create serious doubts in the minds of Indian businessmen and force Indian businessmen to rethink their business strategy in that part of the world," it added.

Jain went to Jakarta with a team of senior executives in charge of a software development project for Indonesia's Bank Artha Graha to resolve a commercial dispute.

Polaris Software had signed agreements with Bank Artha Graha in June for central processing, disaster recovery and branch server related work. The contract was supposed to be executed by July next year.

Bank Artha Graha, however, served notice of contract termination on Polaris Software on November 27.

"Polaris said the grounds for termination were incorrect and offered to resolve the issue through discussion," said a Polaris statement.

"However on their (the Polaris officials) arrival in the office of Bank Artha Graha on December 13, 2002, they were detained against their wishes and were not allowed to leave the premises," it added.

"We are deeply shocked and saddened at the turn of events," said Govind Singhal, acting chief executive officer of Polaris Software.

"There is a specific provision in the agreement for arbitration in Singapore to settle any dispute and it is disturbing that our chairman has been subjected to humiliating treatment over a commercial dispute.

"We expect his early return to India and in the meanwhile, the management and staff of Polaris is conducting its business in a normal fashion," he added.

Polaris Software provides customised IT solutions to several multinational clients through its 15 offices worldwide.

The company has operations in the Australia, Britain, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan Singapore, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. Polaris has 2,443 professionals spread all over the world.
Source: IANS
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