The wife of Indian diplomat Anil Verma, accused of beating her at their official residence in London, has gone into hiding with the couple's five-year-old son over fears for her safety, a media report said.
Paromita Verma is living in fear of her life after moving out of their home and has applied for leave to remain in the UK on humanitarian grounds amid fears that she would be forcibly taken back to India, the Daily Mail reported.
An IAS officer of the West Bengal cadre, Anil Verma, who is the third senior-most diplomat and Minister (economic) in the Indian High Commission in the UK, had reportedly sought immunity from prosecution after being questioned by the police over claims that he assaulted his wife in December.
"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," a close family friend of the Vermas was quoted by the British newspaper as saying.
Last week, the Ministry of External Affairs had issued a statement on the issue: "The Ministry of External Affairs and our High Commission in London are aware of and are looking into the matter."
Recollecting the day of incident, the family friend said: "Anil suddenly blew up on the morning of the incident. He was in his pyjamas and suddenly flew into a rage over the fact that there was a Christmas tree in the house that had been given to them from one of Paromita's relatives.
"He stormed up the stairs to grab the tree and throw it out but Paromita followed and tried to stop him because their son had been decorating it. He suddenly turned round and punched her full in the face, very hard. Paromita almost fell down the stairs but grabbed on to bannister to steady herself.
"She was screaming and blood was pouring from her nose like a tap. Her clothes were covered in blood and she grabbed a tea towel to stem the flow. Anil did not say a word to her and did not seem to care. He started shouting at Paromita's mother, who was also in the house, abusing her too.
"The front door was open and Paromita ran outside, where her neighbours found her. They called the police and an ambulance also arrived at the scene. Neighbours took her into their house to comfort her until the police arrived."
Police were called to the family's home in Golders Green, NorthWest London, on December 11. Officers questioned the diplomat but they were powerless to arrest him because of his diplomatic status.