No determination yet on diplomatic immunity for Nath: US

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Jan 24 (PTI) The United States has made"no determination" on the question of diplomatic immunity forUrban Development Minister Kamal Nath against the backdrop ofthe summons issued against him by a US court on a lawsuitalleging his involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The State Department here said that US is lookingforward to working with Kamal Nath in his new capacity as theUrban Development Minister.

"The immunity question remains under review by theState Department; we have not not made any determination onthis point," a State Department official told PTI in responseto media reports that it has denied "diplomatic immunity"request from India.

A clarification was sought by the Indian Embassy hereon whether Kamal Nath enjoys diplomatic immunity following thecase filed against him by an NGO, Sikhs for Justice, in Aprillast year.

"The Department of State has been following closelythe civil complaint filed against Minister Kamal Nath," theofficial said.

"We understand that the plaintiffs have until February9 to file an amended complaint. We also understand that theremay be a factual dispute as to service. At this point isunclear whether there is any live action against Minister Nathand what its content might be," the official said.

In a statement, Sikhs for Justice yesterday said thatan amended complaint will be filed in the 1984 anti-Sikh riotcase being pursued in a New York federal district courtagainst Nath.

Gurpatwant S Pannun, the lawyer of the Sikh group,yesterday claimed that the Department of State has declined tointervene.

However, the State Department officials refuted allsuch reports and said that "no determination" has been madeyet on the question of diplomatic immunity to Kamal Nath.

The US, in fact, is looking forward to working withhim in his new capacity as the Urban Development Minister.

"As Commerce Minister and more recently as Roads andHighways Minister, Kamal Nath has been a strong advocate andan important partner of the United States in deepening ourtrade and economic relationship," the State Departmentofficial said.

"We look forward to continuing to work closely withhim in his new capacity as Minister for Urban Development,particularly as we seek explore opportunities to develop newpartnerships between our countries'' cities," the officialsaid.

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