''Either waive Verma''s diplomatic immunity or take action''

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H S Rao

New Delhi/London, Jan 17 (PTI) Even as India hastransferred its London-based diplomat Anil Verma, Britaintoday disclosed that it had pressed for Verma''s diplomaticimmunity to be waived which was declined by government.

With the British office demanding waiving diplomaticimmunity of the diplomat or his transfer from London andaction against him under Indian laws, India chose the secondoption, sources told PTI.

In London, a Foreign and Commonwealth OfficeSpokesperson told PTI "We can confirm that we have formallyrequested the waiver of diplomatic immunity for a diplomatposted at the Indian High Commission in London."

"The Foreign Offices does not tolerate diplomatsworking in the UK breaking the law," the spokesperson said.

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

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

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

Sources in Delhi said Verma has been transferred toback to India with immediate effect and may face action whichwill be based on the findings of the probe into theallegations of assault against him.

Meanwhile, the wife of the Indian diplomat, has goneinto hiding with the couple''s five-year-old son over fears forher safety, a media report said.

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

"Throughout their time over here, Anil would boastabout his diplomatic immunity and he would tell Paromita thatno one could touch him because of it. He would goad her andsay, ''Call the police as many times as you want. I''ve gotdiplomatic immunity''," a close family friend of the Vermas wasquoted by the British newspaper as saying.

"He was shameless with it. He has been given so muchpower and he is abusing it. Paromita has gone into hiding andseriously fears that her safety and health are in jeopardy."PTI PYK HSR

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