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'Maid case now in Indian govt hands'

world Updated: Jun 26, 2011 20:17 IST
Indian consul general

Indian consul general in New York Prabhu Dayal, who is accused of treating a former domestic help as a slave and making sexual advances, has said that the Indian government will now have to decide how to proceed with the forced labour lawsuit filed against him by his former maid.

Dayal said that he had received summons from the court and had turned the matter into the hands of the Indian government.

The government would have to see whether to resolve the matter in court or go through the US State department, he said.

"It is not for me to make that decision," Dayal said. "The government will have to decide."

Santosh Bhardwaj, 45, accuses Dayal of making her work for long hours everyday at $300 a month, confiscating her passport, making her sleep in a storage closet and asking her for a massage.

Dayal, who has described these charges as "complete nonsense," has said that Bhardwaj ran away because he did not allow her to work outside the consulate to make some extra money as it was against her visa rules.

Dayal has said that he never asked Bhardwaj for a massage, which she interpreted as a sexual advance.

The Indian government has already expressed sympathy for Dayal.

"We are disappointed and surprised at the allegations against consul general of India in New York Prabhu Dayal, by his former employee, which appear to be motivated and baseless," ministry of external affairs spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said last week.

"Such actions impede the ability of the individuals in question to discharge their official responsibilities as well as cause untold mental harassment and anguish. They cannot be dismissed lightly," he added.