Thursday, December 8, 2011
Diamond traders thank Modi for their release
For the families of the 13 diamond traders in Mumbai and Surat, yesterday was the greatest day of their lives as these traders, who were arrested by the Customs officials in China two years ago, were finally released.
Among the released traders, six are Mumbaikars, while the remaining seven hail from Surat.
"Since we got the news that my son has been freed, my place is abuzz with phone calls and visitors congratulating us. It's been a long wait for my family and me," said a delighted Ashok Shah, father of Sameer, a city-based diamond trader.
Kishan Shah, uncle of Parth N Shah, said, "This is the happiest moment of our lives. Finally, justice has been done. I will be able to see him very soon."
'Thank you, Modibhai'
While some of the released traders thanked their luck, most said that they owe their freedom to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who managed to convince the Chinese government to consider the release of diamond traders during his visit to Beijing last month.
"Modibhai has played a big role in our son's release. It was because of his intervention that our sons will be back in India soon. Once my son comes home, I'll see to it that he seeks Modi's blessings," said father of another diamond trader from Surat, requesting anonymity
Opera House beaming
Diamond expert Hira Manik stated, "The news has brought a wave of happiness in Opera House. The traders in Mumbai and Surat will be thankful to Modi for his efforts in bringing back the traders to India."
About 22 traders were arrested on January 8, 2010 in Shenzhen and charged with smuggling diamonds worth $ 7.3 million. These traders were accused of sourcing at least 14,000 carats of diamonds illegally from Hong Kong for sale in the Chinese market.
According to the reports published earlier in the local media, they were also charged with controlling a smuggling ring, working with 'henchmen from Hong Kong'. Officials of the Indian Consulate at Guangzhou attended the court proceedings.