Rape probe on, MEA seeks info on Saudi Arabian diplomat
Government sources said the ministry would approach the Saudi embassy if the police needed more information. The embassy has the option of cooperating or invoking diplomatic immunity.india Updated: Sep 10, 2015 01:19 IST
The Gurgaon Police on Wednesday continued their investigation into the alleged rape and confinement of two Nepalese women at the home of a Saudi embassy official while admitting the accused enjoyed diplomatic immunity.
The ministry of external affairs, apprised of the case on Tuesday, has sought details. “We have asked the Gurgaon Police for a report. Further steps will be taken once we receive a detailed report,” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
Government sources said the ministry would approach the Saudi embassy if the police needed more information. The embassy has the option of cooperating or invoking diplomatic immunity, which would make it impossible to proceed against the official.
It continued to deny the allegations on Wednesday, terming them “false”. Saudi ambassador Saud Mohammed Alsati met senior MEA officials to protest the police intrusion into the diplomat’s house, saying it was against “all diplomatic conventions”, and the “unwarranted media briefings before investigations are complete”.
The Gurgaon police said the probe would be undertaken in accordance with the Vienna convention. The international treaty deals with the privileges of a diplomatic mission and the diplomats to perform their function without fear of coercion or harassment by the host country.
Article 30 of the Vienna Convention states that “the private residence of a diplomatic agent shall enjoy the same inviolability and protection as the premises of the mission”.
The police had on Monday sent teams to the upscale Caitriona Apartments in Ambience Island and rescued the women after a tip-off from an NGO. They visited the address again on Wednesday to seek CCTV footage from the management.
The police said they did not enter the apartment. “The Gurgaon Police are aware of the procedure for conducting investigation in cases where foreign diplomats may be involved. Therefore, the matter was immediately brought to the notice of the ministry of external affairs and other concerned higher offices on September 8, 2015 itself. It was confirmed by the MEA that the alleged accused is an officer of the Saudi Arabian embassy and that he enjoys diplomatic status in India,” said Gurgaon Police commissioner Navdeep Singh Virk.
“The Indian police are legally mandated to register an FIR and commence investigation into any incident that discloses an offence of rape in the territorial jurisdiction of India... There is no bar on registration of a case of rape against any person in such circumstances, even a foreign diplomat,” he added.
The police also said the MEA had sought further details, though a report with FIR details, statements of the victims recorded before a magistrate, statements of the NGO and sequence of events had been sent to the ministry, the embassies of Saudi Arabia and Nepal and the Haryana DGP on Tuesday.
The victims are understood to be travelling back to Nepal with the help of the NGO, according to an AFP report.