Indian diplomat’s wife in hiding in Britain?

January 16th, 2011 - 6:10 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 16 (IANS) The wife of high-ranking Indian diplomat Anil Verma, who is accused of beating her at their official residence in London, has gone into hiding with the couple’s five-year-old son, fearing for her safety, a media report said Sunday. Paromita Verma says she is living in fear of her life and has applied for leave to remain in Britain on humanitarian grounds, the Daily Mail reported.

Paromita is now separated from her husband after moving out of their home amid fears that she would be forcibly taken back to India.

Anil Verma, the third senior-most Indian diplomat and minister (economic), had reportedly sought immunity from prosecution after being questioned by police over claims that he assaulted his wife in December last year. His main role is to promote trade between the two countries and he is believed to have met Business Secretary Vince Cable and other cabinet ministers.

Verma is alleged to have attacked his wife after a heated argument. Officers questioned Verma but were powerless to arrest him because of his diplomatic status.

The incident occurred last month after neighbours were woken by a woman’s screams. A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “At 9.30 a.m. Dec 11, following reports of an assault at an address at Corringham Road, NW11, London a man in his 40s was spoken to by officers. No arrests were made.”

According to the report, Indian officials refused to waive Anil’s immunity despite Foreign Office requests.

A close family friend told The Mail on Sunday: “Throughout their time over here, Anil would boast about his diplomatic immunity and he would tell Paromita that no one could touch him because of it.

“He would goad her and say, ‘Call the police as many times as you want. I’ve got diplomatic immunity.’ He was shameless with it. He has been given so much power and he is abusing it.”

The Indian high commission in London said that it was aware of the incident and was looking into it carefully, adding: “It involves sensitive and personal issues -pertaining to the individual. It is premature to make any further comments at this stage.”

Paromita’s solicitor Emma Woolcott said Saturday night that her client was unavailable for comment.

The Foreign Office said it did not tolerate diplomats working in Britain breaking the law.

“We can confirm that we have formally requested the waiver of diplomatic immunity for a diplomat posted at the Indian high commission in London,” it said.

“In addition, Foreign Office officials met staff of the Indian high commission in London to discuss the matter and to emphasise the serious nature of the allegations. British high commission staff in Delhi also met officials of the ministry of external affairs.”

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