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‘Indian envoy tried to sneak out traders’

world Updated: Jan 06, 2012 02:26 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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An Indian diplomat had tried to whisk away the two Indian businessmen from a court in Yiwu that was busy hearing a trade dispute case involving them and their company but was caught while sneaking out, a Chinese daily known for its nationalist stance alleged on Thursday.

Shyamsunder Agrawal and Deepak Raheja are back in the safety of Shanghai away from irate Chinese workers in Yiwu in eastern China but have left in their track a long trail of controversy.

The Indian diplomat in question, S Balachandran, was never mistreated or denied food, the Global Times report said, adding that reports “distorted facts and no injuries actually happened.”

“During the interval at the hearing, the diplomat planned to take away the two Indians secretly under the pretence of going to the toilet. But they were stopped by suppliers at the court’s exit,” the report said.

Agrawal and Raheja were kidnapped by local workers in December. They were finally produced in a Yiwu court over the last weekend after the Indian consulate in Shanghai intervened. After spending days in a police station and a hotel in Yiwu, the dup were taken to Shanghai.

However, they cannot move out of China till the court resolves the issue of money owed to local workers. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/06-01-12-metro15b.jpg

Indian diplomats refused to comment on the Global Time story. But privately, it was learnt, they have dismissed it, saying its premise was absurd given the diplomat’s status and the fact that proceedings were going on in a court of law.

The story gave more examples where Indians were suspected of absconding with money from the eastern China city, the biggest commodities’ market in China.

“In early December, an Indian citizen fled to India without paying 16 million yuan to 145 goods suppliers in Yiwu. In another case, two Indians took away goods valued at 2.8 million yuan without payment,” the report added.

The newspaper, quoting the Overseas Chinese and Foreign Affairs office of Yiwu, added that the city has attracted about 130,000 foreign businessmen, including 5,000 from South Korea and over 100 from India.