M A I N   N E W S

UK: Wanted Verma’s immunity waiver, India declined

New Delhi/London, Jan 17
Even as India has transferred its London-based diplomat Anil Verma, Britain today disclosed that it had pressed for Verma's diplomatic immunity to be waived but that was declined by the government.

With the British office demanding waiving diplomatic immunity of the diplomat or his transfer from London and action against him under Indian laws, India chose the second option, sources said.

In London, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said, "We can confirm that we have formally requested the waiver of diplomatic immunity for a diplomat posted at the Indian High Commission in London. The Foreign Office does not tolerate diplomats working in the UK breaking the law."

"In addition, Foreign Office officials met staff of the Indian High Commission in London to discuss the matter and to emphasise the serious nature of the allegations. British High Commission staff in Delhi also met officials of the Ministry of External Affairs."

Verma, a 1986-batch IAS officer of the West Bengal cadre and third-ranked diplomat in the Indian High Commission, found himself in trouble when his wife Paromita covered in blood was found screaming by neighbours on December 11.

When the police arrived, 45-year-old Verma, Minister (Economic) in the Indian mission, claimed diplomatic immunity and escaped action.

Sources in Delhi said Verma had been transferred to back to India with immediate effect and might face action which would be based on the findings of the probe into the allegations of assault against him.

Meanwhile, the wife of the Indian diplomat has gone into hiding with the couple's five-year-old son over fears for her safety.

Paromita is living in fear of her life after moving out of their home and has applied for leave to remain in the UK on humanitarian grounds amid fears that she would be forcibly taken back to India, the 'Daily Mail' has reported.

"Throughout their time over here, Anil would boast of his diplomatic immunity and tell Paromita that no one could touch him because of it. He would goad her and say, 'Call the police as many times as you want. I've got diplomatic immunity'," a close family friend of the Vermas was quoted by the British newspaper as saying.

"He was shameless with it. He has been given so much power and he is abusing it. Paromita has gone into hiding and seriously fears that her safety and health are in jeopardy." — PTI





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