Uncertainty looms over Polaris officials' return to India

Tuesday, 24 December 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The impasse over the detention of the top official of a leading Indian software firm in Indonesia continued Monday with Jakarta Police holding back his passport and other travel documents.

Arun Jain, chairman of Polaris Software Ltd., and his senior executive Rajiv Malhotra were released Friday in Jakarta where they had been detained following a commercial dispute with a local bank after the arrest sparked a diplomatic protest.

But uncertainty still looms over the date of their return to India as the Indonesian authorities have held back the businessmen's passports and other travel documents.

The Indonesian police detained Jain and Malhotra on December 13 following a dispute between the Chennai-based leading banking and financial services software firm and Bank Artha Graha in Jakarta.

"Arun Jain and Rajiv Malhotra spent their fourth day today in the Indian Embassy in Jakarta," said a Polaris statement issued to the Bombay Stock Exchange. "The Jakarta police are yet to return their passports, and the impasse continues."

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 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, on the other hand, claimed the grounds for termination were incorrect and offered to resolve the issue through discussion.

The Indonesian police detained the Polaris officials on their arrival in the office of Bank Artha Graha. The weeklong detention ended last Friday after New Delhi reacted sharply and told Jakarta that the continued detention of the executives and the reported use of "strong-arm tactics" against them could impair bilateral ties.

The Indian businessmen have been staying at the Indian embassy in Jakarta since their release from the detention.

"A communication last week from the Jakarta Police to the Indian Embassy led the company to believe that the police would hand over the passports on December 23," said the Polaris statement.

"However, at the time of issuing this communication, the company has not yet received any firm indication on the return of passports. It now appears that Arun and Rajiv will have to wait longer in Jakarta," it added.

Source: IANS
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