Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Dec 21, 2002
Info-Tech - Software
Polaris chief Arun Jain released in Jakarta
NEW DELHI/CHENNAI, Dec. 20
THE Indonesian Police on Friday released Polaris Software CEO, Mr Arun Jain, after a week's detention over a commercial dispute; but he will have to be in Jakarta for some more days for further interrogation.
Mr Jain and his colleague, Mr Rajiv Malhotra, are currently at the Indian Embassy in Jakarta. The police have retained their passports.
The Union Minister for Communications and IT, Mr Pramod Mahajan, told Business Line that he spoke to Mr Jain in Jakarta. "He told me that the issue is likely to be resolved on Monday," Mr Mahajan said.
Meanwhile, officials at Polaris feel "perplexed" at the turn of events. A spokesperson for the company said, "We have been assured of their safety now that they are in our embassy. But, since their passports are withheld and the holiday week-end is around the corner, we are concerned". He added that the two were hale and hearty.
An official at the Indian Embassy in Jakarta told Business Line that the duo would "soon leave for the country". To a question, he replied, "No money has been given" to the authorities or to the bank to facilitate the release. Asked if Mr Jain could comment, he declined saying, "He's currently not commenting. You will soon see him yourself."
Mr Jain and Mr Malhotra were jailed by the Indonesian Police last Friday over a dispute with a Polaris' client, Bank Artha Graha, which demanded penalties from the Chennai-based software firm for allegedly not fulfilling a contract. Their arrest sparked a high-level diplomatic intervention with the External Affairs Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, taking up with his Indonesian counterpart the immediate release of the executives.
Industry bodies, National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) have thanked the Government for securing the release of Mr Jain.
Nasscom said in a statement here that the "solidarity and support of the entire Indian IT industry has undoubtedly been an important factor in the resolution of the crisis". "This is probably the first case of its type and we are happy to note that the Government has thrown its full weight behind securing the release of a business professional who has been wrongly confined," Nasscom said.
CII said that while the circumstances under which the detention of Mr Jain and his colleague were unfortunate, the quick resolution of the issue would perhaps not impair trade and economic relations between India and Indonesia.
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