South Asia

UK questions India envoy immunity

Britain has asked India to waive diplomatic immunity for a senior diplomat who has been recalled to Delhi over reports he assaulted his wife.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said it would not tolerate diplomats in the UK breaking the law.

Police were called to the envoy's London home last month after reports of a dispute. No arrests were made.

The man claimed diplomatic immunity after police questioned him, and has been summoned back to India.

'Christmas tree row'

The diplomat, named in the media as Anil Verma, was alleged to have assaulted his wife on 11 December during a row at their home in an upmarket area of north-west London.

The FCO said in a statement: "We can confirm that we have formally requested the waiver of diplomatic immunity for a diplomat posted at the Indian High Commission in London.

"The Foreign Office does not tolerate diplomats working in the UK breaking the law.

"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."

A BBC correspondent in Delhi says the incident involving the 45-year-old Bengali official has become an embarrassment to the Indian government.

The ministry of external affairs told the BBC earlier it was treating the matter "very seriously".

Mr Verma's wife, Paromita, has remained in the UK with the couple's five-year-old son and is applying for leave to remain in the UK on humanitarian grounds, according to Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper.

She was reportedly found with a bleeding nose after police were called to the couple's Golders Green home.

The domestic row reportedly started when the envoy found a Christmas tree in the house that had been given to them by one of his wife's relatives.

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