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French embassy staffer caught with drugs: police

india Updated: Mar 10, 2009 20:36 IST

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A French national attached to the embassy in New Delhi has left India after being arrested for the illegal possession of drugs, police and sources said on Tuesday.

Isabelle Normand, who heads the Alliance Francaise cultural centre in Chandigarh, was arrested last month with the contraband, KK Indoria, chief of police in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh state's Kullu district told AFP.

"We got a message from the French embassy saying that she is a technical staffer of the French embassy in New Delhi and under the Vienna Convention she enjoys certain rights including immunity from judicial custody.

"An order was (then) passed releasing her," he said.

A spokesman for the French embassy in New Delhi said that Normand had left India and would be replaced soon.

Another source close to the investigation said Normand had been detained with 250 grams (0.55 pounds) of hashish as she was on her way to Himachal Pradesh from Chandigarh.

Indian police, who had registered a preliminary complaint against Normand, let her go after the intervention by the French authorities and because she held a French official passport granting her some diplomatic privileges.

Chandigarh city was designed in the 1950s by European architect Le Corbusier as the new capital of the Indian state of Punjab after Lahore was designated capital of Pakistan following the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947.

Chandigarh at present serves as capital for Punjab and adjoining Haryana state.