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Indian envoy in UK probed for wife assault

Anil Verma, a senior diplomat in the Indian High Commission in London, has been questioned by Scotland Yard on allegations that he assaulted his wife, but has escaped prosecution due to diplomatic immunity.

world Updated: Jan 09, 2011 23:23 IST
PTI

Anil Verma, a senior diplomat in the Indian High Commission here, has been questioned by Scotland Yard on allegations that he assaulted his wife, but has escaped prosecution due to diplomatic immunity.

Verma, who is Minister (Economic) in the High Commission, is alleged to have attacked his wife after a heated argument last month, Daily Mail reported on Sunday.

He is closely involved with India-UK trade relations.

The police were called to the couple's home in Golders Green, North-West London, after neighbours heard a woman screaming.

According to the report, police officers questioned Verma but did not arrest him because of his diplomatic status. The police have reportedly asked the Foreign Office to intervene.

An Indian High Commission spokesman said: "This matter has been brought to our attention. It is now expected that this matter will be resolved between husband and wife to their mutual satisfaction."

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "At 9.30am on December 11, following reports of an assault at an address at Corringham Road, NW11, a man in his 40s was spoken to by officers. No arrests were made."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We do not tolerate diplomats working in the UK breaking the law. When we are made aware of an offence committed by a diplomat or their family, we will take appropriate action."

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

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 diplomatic immunity.