Row over X-mas tree "provoked" diplomat, says Indian mission

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H S Rao

London, Jan 19 (PTI) The Indian High Commission herehas issued a blow-by-blow account on the alleged wife-bashingby its senior diplomat Anil Verma, who has been transferedback to India, saying the incident was "provoked" by a rowover a Christmas tree gift.

Taking a tough stand on domestic violence, the missionin a statement here said, "there is no question of condoningdomestic violence which is totally unacceptable. Once theofficer returns to India, the matter will be thoroughlyinvestigated and acted upon appropriately."

Noting that the Ministry of External Affairs has takena serious view in the matter, it said, "the laws of the landwould take care of any acts that need to be taken care of,consequent to the inquiry."

Verma, a senior IAS officer of West Bengal cadre,joined the High Commission here as Minister (Economic),ranking number three in the mission, on August 24, 2009.

Narrating the sequence of events, the five-pagestatement said, "apparently, the incident was provoked by agift (a Christmas tree) made by Verma''s aunt (her mother''ssister who is married to Robert Chase and lives near theirhouse) to their son.

"This was objected to by Verma and led to analtercation."

According to the statement, Verma had offered to buy aChristmas tree for their son. However, Verma''s wife Paromitahad said that since they already had a tree from the previousyear, they did not need to buy one.

Subsequently, when a Christmas tree was gifted by MrsChase, Verma said that he felt humiliated.

He wanted to remove the tree from the house. When hewent upstairs to do this, Paromita followed him and tried toprevent him from doing so.

In the scuffle that followed, she was injured.

According to Verma, "Mrs Verma was hit on the facewhen he was trying to remove the Christmas tree from the houseand she was trying to forcibly prevent him from doing so.

According to Mrs Verma, she was slapped. This resulted inbleeding from her nose due to damage to tissues in the nose.

"Mrs Verma ran out of her house and her neighbourscalled the police and an ambulance. The police recorded MrsVerma''s statement (which was also signed by her) after whichMrs Verma was taken by the ambulance to the Hospital andreturned to her residence the same day." .

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