The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Polaris protest

New Delhi, Dec. 17: Expressing strong displeasure over the manner in which Polaris Software Labs chief Arun Jain was mistreated by the authorities in Jakarta, India today summoned the Indonesian ambassador in Delhi to lodge its protest.

The Indian charges d’affaires in Jakarta, Amar Sinha, also took up the matter with the Indonesian foreign office this afternoon, and urged them to take urgent steps to get Jain released from police custody.

Indications suggest that if the matter is not resolved shortly, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee may take it up with Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri to ensure an amicable solution.

Information technology minister Pramod Mahajan said he had taken up the issue with foreign minister Yashwant Sinha and sought his intervention.

Sinha assured him that he had taken up the matter at the proper level and will personally intervene if it fails.

But Mahajan said if the issue was not solved shortly, he would request the Prime Minister to step in.

“We have taken it up strongly, both in Delhi and Jakarta,” foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said. “We hope that the Indonesian authorities will assist in resolving this situation as soon as possible,” he said.

Asked whether India was thinking of other options as well, Sarna said that the time for exploring them had not yet come.

Jain and his senior colleague, Rajiv Malhotra, have been detained in Jakarta since Friday.

Jain, the chief of the Chennai-based software company, had gone to Indonesia to resolve a commercial dispute with the local bank Artha Graha, which had given his company an order worth $ 1.1 million to develop software for the bank.

The agreements - signed in the middle of this year - covered central processing, disaster recovery and branch server related work, the company said.

The contract was to be completed by July next year. But the Indonesian bank served a notice of termination on Polaris, which the company contested.

Jain had gone to Jakarta with his team of senior executives to resolve some commercial issues.

According to Polaris, when he arrived at the bank’s office in Jakarta, they were detained and not allowed to leave the premises. On the bank’s complaint, the Indonesian police detained them.

Sarna said India has excellent relations with Indonesia. But the manner in which Jain and his colleagues were treated in Jakarta was not in keeping with the relationship.

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