India recalls diplomat after 'assault' in Britain

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Old 18-Jan-2011
India recalls diplomat after 'assault' in Britain

New Delhi: India said Tuesday it was recalling a senior diplomat from Britain following reports that he assaulted his wife, but indicated it would not consider waiving his diplomatic immunity.

"We have already taken the decision to transfer the officer back to Delhi," foreign ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said.

The diplomat, named by media as Anil Verma, allegedly attacked his wife on December 11 in an argument at their home in an upmarket area of northwest London, Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper reported.

Police were called after neighbours heard his wife, Paromita Verma, scream and saw her run out into the street with blood streaming from her nose, the paper said.

The British Foreign Office said it had lodged a formal request for India to waive Verma's diplomatic immunity, laying him open to possible prosecution in Britain.

But Prakash told AFP that any wrongdoing, once proven, would be dealt with under Indian law.

"We have taken the matter very seriously," he said. "We have due process of law here and any activity deemed to be inappropriate will be dealt with under the laws of the land."

The diplomat reportedly became angry because there was a Christmas tree in the house which had been given to the family by one of his wife's relatives.

Paromita Verma has now gone into hiding with the couple's five-year-old son and applied to remain in Britain on humanitarian grounds, the Mail said.

One former Indian ambassador, KC Singh, said waiving diplomatic immunity would not have been considered as an option.

"Major countries ... Russia, the US ... they prosecute their own diplomats. They do not cut them loose," he told NDTV television.

"Justice will be done, should be done, but not then and there in that place," Singh said.

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