Beaten Indian diplomat's wife goes into hiding with son over fears for safety

Posted By: Ani
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London, Jan.16 (ANI): An Indian diplomat's wife, who was recently a victim of domestic violence, has gone into hiding with her son over fears that their lives are in danger.

Paromita Verma, the wife of senior Indian diplomat Anil Verma, has gone into hiding with the couple's five-year-old son and has applied for leave to remain in Britain on humanitarian grounds.

Her husband Anil used his diplomatic immunity to avoid being arrested for the alleged attack at their one million pound home a fortnight before Christmas.

Indian officials refused to waive Verma's immunity despite Foreign Office requests.

Paromita Verma is now separated from her husband after moving out of their home amid fears she would be forcibly taken back to India.

A close family friend told The Mail on Sunday: 'Throughout their time over here, Anil would boast about his diplomatic immunity and he would 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." 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," the friend added.

Verma is the third-most senior Indian diplomat in Britain, below only the High Commissioner and the Deputy High main role is to promote trade between the two countries and he is believed to have met Business Secretary Vince Cable and other Cabinet Ministers.

Police were called to the family's home in Golders Green, North-West London, on December 11 after neighbours heard Paromita Verma screaming and saw her run out into the street with blood streaming from her nose.

Officers questioned her husband but were powerless to arrest him because of his diplomatic status.

Anil Verma and India's Deputy High Commissioner to Britain Rajesh Prasad are believed to have threatened Paromita with forced deportation, which prompted her to take her son and go into hiding.

She also began the process of claiming discretionary leave to remain in Britain on the grounds that there is a threat to both her and her family's safety if she returns to India.

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

As a result, embassy staff accused of serious offences can be charged only if their government agrees to waive their immunity.

Last year Foreign Secretary William Hague revealed to Parliament that foreign diplomats had escaped prosecution in 78 serious cases in the previous five years, including allegations of sexual abuse and drink-driving.

Sources at India's Ministry of External Affairs believe Verma could be forced to return to Delhi in the next few weeks while they conduct their own enquiries.

The Indian High Commission in London said that it was aware of the incident and was looking into it carefully.

Paromita Verma's solicitor, Emma Woolcott, of Mishcon de Reya, said last night that her client was unavailable for comment.

The Foreign Office said it did not tolerate diplomats working in the UK breaking the law. (ANI)

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