Deepak Raheja and Shyamsunder Agarwal stand accused of owing 10 million RMB ($1.58 million) to Chinese traders after the Yemeni owner of their trading firm fled abroad leaving unpaid dues.
The two traders were held hostage in Yiwu for over two weeks in December by Chinese suppliers. They were subsequently allowed to leave for Shanghai following a court hearing, and were being looked after by the Indian Consulate in the city while awaiting the verdict.
The Consulate had so far spent around 45,000 RMB ($7,142) on their hotel bills and living expenses, but had to stop payments as they did not have the approval from New Delhi for further funds, an official said.
“We were thrown out of the hotel because we could not pay the bills, and had to spend Tuesday night sleeping on the street,” Raheja said in a telephone interview.
The two traders have written to the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi seeking financial assistance of $128 a day until the verdict is announced.
While thanking the Consulate for its support over the past weeks, Raheja said he is in a “dire” financial situation after paying 900,000 RMB ($143,000) out of his own personal savings to suppliers while he was being held captive. Both traders do not have access to any other funds, he said.
The traders have also asked to be allowed to return to India, though there is little likelihood of that until the case is resolved. Chinese prosecutors and dozens of suppliers hold them accountable for a vast sum of money, while court authorities are in possession of their passports.
Hearings on the case began on March 1 at an Intermediate court in Jinhua, near Shanghai. Suppliers accused the two Indian traders of being liable for the dues, and have produced documents and receipts, with the traders’ signatures, to prove their case.
Raheja is arguing that the signatures were made under duress. He said he was only an employee in the firm, which he claimed was owned by a Yemeni national who has absconded. He has also filed a case against the suppliers for kidnapping and torture, and demanded the return of his money.
Indian officials have asked Chinese authorities to speed up investigations and announce a verdict soon to resolve the matter. External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna raised the issue with his counterpart Yang Jiechi during a visit here last month, when he also met the two traders. “It has already been three weeks since the hearing,” an official said. “This situation cannot go on forever.”Two Indian traders who are awaiting judgment from a Chinese court over a bitter dispute with businessmen in the southern trading hub of Yiwu were forced to spend Tuesday night sleeping on the streets of Shanghai because they have run out of money, The Hindu reported.
BEIJING, March 26 (Bernama) — Asean-China Centre (ACC) secretary-general Ma Mingqiang has called for more Malaysians to use the centre as a platform to promote Malaysia and boost ties between China and Asean countries in trade, investment, tourism, education and culture.
His call for active cooperation of the Malaysian private sector with the ACC comes in the wake of visits by Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Malaysia-China Business Council president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting to the centre.
The ACC is the only official inter-governmental organisation that offers services, activities and authoritative information to both people and institutions in China and Asean member countries, Ma told Bernama in an interview.
To enhance the two-way flow of trade between Asean and China, the ACC planned to set up an Asean products export promotion centre in Yiwu in the province of Zhejiang by offering each Asean country one shop of 100-500 sq metres, depending on the number of products displayed, for free for the first three years, he said.
He said the ACC would also organise investment trips to Asean countries, including Malaysia, to further enhance investment cooperation between China and Asean.
The centre recently organised an investment trip comprising companies from China to Vietnam and Cambodia and received good response, Ma said.
He said Malaysian Minister of Tourism Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen showed interest in cooperating with the ACC to promote Malaysian tourism during the latest Asean Tourism Ministers meeting held in Indonesia.
Ma said the centre had put in much effort in promoting Malaysian tourism, including promoting travel hotspots and local conditions and customs via its official website and mini blog, and cooperated with travel agents to promote tourism in Malaysia.
He said the centre planned to publish travel guidelines for Chinese tourists travelling to Asean countries.
Ma, who has been helping to promote Asean-China ties for 21 years, said he was willing to strengthen win-win cooperation between Asean and China.
“China and Asean are important to each other. The development of Asean would be influenced if China is unstable. The development of China would also be influenced if Asean is in a mess.
“China and Asean are good neighbours, and I’m willing to work harder to promote ties between China and Asean,” he said.
The ACC was born out of a memorandum signed by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Asean leaders during the 12th Asean-China Summit in 2009 in Beijing.
It was officially inaugurated by Wen Jiabao and Asean leaders during the 14th Asean-China Summit in November last year marking the 20th anniversary of dialogue between Asean and China.