India wants accused diplomat in UK to return at the earliest

H S Rao

London, Jan 18 (PTI) India has asked its mission hereto make necessary arrangements for an early return to NewDelhi of its diplomat Anil Verma, who is accused of assaultinghis wife here.

Britain''s government had sought a waiver of Verma''sdiplomatic immunity to pursue a probe against him, but Indiahas transferred the senior official back to New Delhi, sayingthe matter will be "thoroughly investigated" and action takenaccordingly.

A spokesman of the Indian High Commission here toldPTI today: "The High commission has been informed that adecision has been taken by the Government of India to transferMr Anil Verma and his family to India.

"The High Commission has been asked to make necessaryarrangement for Verma and his family members to return toIndia at the earliest," he said.

The High Commission has sought the assistance of theForeign and Commonwealth Office to facilitate the earlydeparture, the official said.

The spokesman also said that what appeared in themedia report of January 16 "is completely distorted, biasedand appear to be motivated version of what actually transpiredduring two visits of the Deputy High Commissioner RajeshPrasad to the Vermas residence on Dec 13, 2010 and January 3,2011".

He said that at no point was Verma''s wife Paromitaberated or threatened by the Deputy High commissioner as hasbeen reported in the media.

The Daily Mail which had reported the case had alsoclaimed that Prasad had threatened Paromita with deportationto India.

Verma, Minister (Economic) in the High Commission hasbeen questioned by Scotland Yard on allegations that heassaulted his wife, but escaped prosecution due to diplomaticimmunity.

Verma, a senior IAS officer of the West Bengal cadre,is alleged to have attacked his wife after a heated argumenton December 11, 2010.

The police were called to the couple''s home inGolders Green, North-West London, after neighbours heard awoman screaming.

Though the FCO asked India to waive the diplomaticimmunity so that they could take appropriate action, Indiadecided to transfer him back.

Under the 1961 Vienna Convention, foreign officials,their spouses, children and staff are protected fromprosecution in their host country.

As a result, embassy staff accused of seriousoffences can be charged only if their government agrees towaive their diplomatic immunity.

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