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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Even as pressure mountson government to dismiss Kamal Nath from the Union cabinet and take action against him for his alleged involvement in 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the Indian government supported the Union urban development minister saying that he will continue to enjoy diplomatic immunity in the United States of America due to this status of a cabinet minister. The Indian government said the minister remains protected on US soil due to his VIP status.

“The minister has no plans to go to the US at the moment. But when he goes, he will enjoy the immunity unless the US state department waves it off,” a senior official said while clarifying that Indian authorities have been for the last five months trying to engage the state department on this.

Kamal Nath faces the possibility of prosecution under a case filed against him in April last year for his alleged involvement the 1984 riots.

The government clarified that Nath had gone to US in April 2010 as a minister, when the case was filed, and had enjoyed diplomatic immunity then and they see no reason why it did not continue even now. “If any official engagement requires him to go to US, he will go,” the official said. Meanwhile, the official said that the Indian government has asked the US to re-look into the case against him, and the way summons were issued. “We are re-looking into the case as to how the summons were served. If it is not in Nath’s interest, then the US state department will have to step in,” the official said.

On Wednesday, State Department spokesperson PJ Cowley, reportedly, said in Washington that the question of granting diplomatic immunity to Kamal Nath was under review. “We are following closely a civil complaint involving Kamal Nath. This is still a legal process that is unfolding,” Cowley said adding it was not clear whether there was any “live action” against him and what its content might be, pointing out that the plaintiffs, an NGO called Sikhs for Justice, had until February 9 to file an amended complaint.

On Thursday, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor for Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) told DNA that besides the civil case in New York court they are also filing a criminal case against the minister under “Human Rights Enforcement Act of 2009” in the US within a week.

DNA was first to report that Kamal Nath is the first Indian who has been facing charges under Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) & Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) in a US court.




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