Indian IT shocked by arrest of Polaris' Jain
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Indian IT shocked by arrest of Polaris' Jain

Thursday, 19 December 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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BANGALORE: India's IT industry has been shocked by what it terms the "arbitrary" arrest of Polaris chairman Arun Jain by the Indonesian authorities.

Led by the chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industry Ashok Soota, who is also chairman of MindTree Consulting, industry officials have described the arrest as "terrifying" and "absolutely bizarre".

"It is completely high handed behaviour and arbitrary, totally contrary to international legal norms. It is better to stay away from that country. That's the signal given to industry and business globally from this incident," Soota told IANS.

Indonesian police detained Jain and Polaris senior vice president Rajiv Malhotra last Friday, apparently over a contractual dispute with Bank Artha Graha.

"It is not a criminal act. At the most, it is a purely commercial dispute that need not be dealt with by putting the chairman of a 600 crore ( 6 billion) Indian company in prison. It speaks ill of Indonesia," said a top official of an IT major, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"One really had a positive image of that country until now. We have a client there and we have not faced any problems at least so far," the official added.

Officials said that non-fulfilment of a contractual obligation for a project that was scheduled to go online only in June 2003 should not have been dealt with in the manner it was.

There are also some who think the incident could be an "aberration" that would get resolved soon.

"We should take this unfortunate incident as an aberration," held Digital Globalsoft CEO Som Mittal.

"Yes, the first reaction is of shock. Everything need not be bad in a country. There should be no generalisation of issues. It is unfortunate that this happened for an alleged breach of contract," maintained Anil Jain, general manager for business development and marketing of Wipro Infotech.

"It basically calls for a better understanding of the laws of the country where Indian companies do business," he added.

"It is bizarre, no doubt. But, there should be some due diligence kind of a mechanism set into place by Nasscom, our government and that of the concerned country in an emerging marketing scenario," said Planetasia CEO Anand Sudarshan.

With Indian companies increasing software exports annually, Sudarshan said such a mechanism was necessary to advise companies on how to deal with the laws of the country in which business contracts are entered into.

Currently, Indian IT companies refer arbitration clauses to courts either in Britain or the U.S. as most foreign shy away from Indian courts.




Source: IANS
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