Kamal Nath claims diplomatic immunity in 1984 riots case in US

July 1st, 2011 - 11:46 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 1 (IANS) Indian Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath has claimed diplomatic immunity and lack of service of summons before a US court in a case over his alleged role in the November 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

In response to summons issued by Judge Robert W. Sweet of the US Federal Court for the Southern District of New York, Kamal Nath claimed diplomatic immunity stating that he was on a special mission as a government official on his numerous travels to New York.

He has also claimed sovereign immunity under common law; and immunity under Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA) of the US in the case filed by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), a US based human rights advocacy group, and some victims of the 1984 riots.

Requesting the court to dismiss the law suit, Kamal Nath filed a sworn affidavit that during his April 2010 visit to New York, no one ever served him with the summons and complaint.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, SFJ legal advisor, suggested that Kamal Nath’s June 24 affidavit “clearly and blatantly contradicts his earlier statements”.

On April 6, Kamal Nath publicly acknowledged receiving the summons, he said.

According to Pannun, he then stated: “A piece of paper was given to me. I will have to see what the piece of paper is all about.”

“I really have no clue about it. I don’t have a basis and I don’t know the authenticity. I don’t know the validity. It was for the first time that I saw it,” he was quoted as saying.

Sweet had March 1 issued summons to Nath and the Congress party in the case accusing them of “conspiring, aiding, abetting and carrying out organised attacks on Sikh population of India in November 1984″, according to Pannun.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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