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|October 22, 1999||
Indian exec's arrest in France betrays racial arrogance and discrimination against Third World, says IMC
The Indian Merchants' Chamber has appealed to the prime minister to instruct the Indian ambassador in France to intervene and get Chand Mehta, chief exports manager, Autolite Industries, released from police custody at Villepinte, near Paris, France.
The IMC has also urged the French consulate in Bombay and the French Ambassador in New Delhi to note the anguish of the Indian business community caused by the arrest of the Indian executive at the Equip Auto 1999 exhibition in Villepinte a couple of days ago.
The IMC told them to convey India's strong feelings in this regard to the French government What causes concern is the reported arbitrary, hasty manner in which the French police chose to arrest the Indian businessman, following a complaint by the French automotive company Peugeot. The police did not even obtain a warrant of arrest. The Indian's bail application was rejected in sharp contrast to the granting of bail to a Belgian, who was detained along with him. It is shocking that a civilised nation like France did not permit Mehta's wife to meet with him nor informed her of his whereabouts, the IMC said.
The IMC also said it is not unusual for multinational companies to file false complaints against smaller companies of the Third World to scare them away from lucrative European and US markets. In recent years, some European companies had concoted wild charges to thwart competition from Indian manufacturers on the grounds of violation of patents and copyrights, unfair practices such as dumping, employment of child labour or use of harmful pesticides.
The action of the French authorities also betrays racial arrogance and contempt towards Third World businessmen, the IMC said. The French police should have considered Jaipur-based Autolite's longstanding credentials and the fact that it has been supplying auto ancillaries to well-known multinational companies for the past two decades, the IMC said.
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