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Scientist gets visa, Mulford apology

Us Ambassador David C. Mulford on Friday apologised to scientist Goverdhan Mehta for the delay in granting him a US visa.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2006 18:57 IST
Agencies
Agencies
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Us Ambassador David C. Mulford on Friday apologised to scientist Goverdhan Mehta for the delay in granting him a US visa. "The US Embassy is pleased to note that a visa for Professor Goverdhan Mehta was issued today," an embassy statement said on Friday.

It said Ambassador Mulford called Professor Mehta on Thursday to notify him and express both his apologies and satisfaction that a visa would be issued immediately. Processing of Mehta's visa had been suspended pending its review in Washington, the statement said, adding that the review had been concluded.

Mehta, a former director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, had charged that he was denied a visa by the US consulate in Chennai as he was suspected of being involved in chemical warfare and bio-terrorism. A furious Mehta, who was invited to deliver a lecture at the American Chemical Science Society, had asked the government to take a stand.

In Washington, State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli said there was never a refusal of visa to Mehta. "Well, just to get the facts straight, Professor Goverdhan Mehta, a prominent and distinguished Indian scientist, applied for a visa and that visa is being issued," he said.

Mehta, a member of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Scientific Advisory Committee and known for his pioneering research in organic chemistry, has been to the US at least a dozen times before. Mehta has been awarded the Padma Shri, one of India's top civilian awards.

Besides Mehta, P. Rodriguez, former director of Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam and leading agro-scientist P. C. Kesavan of M.S. Swaminathan Research Institute in Chennai have also been denied a visa. The fate of their visa applications is not entirely clear.

First Published: Feb 25, 2006 18:57 IST