No diplomatic immunity for accused official: French embassy
Bangalore, June 18 (IANS) A French diplomat, accused of sexually abusing his minor daughter, has no diplomatic immunity from being tried under Indian laws for the alleged crime, the French embassy said Monday.
"The official (Pascal Mazurier) has a service passport and does not have diplomatic immunity. He is a French national employed in our consulate general in Bangalore," a French embassy spokesperson told IANS from New Delhi.
Police Friday registered a rape case under section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Mazurier after his Indian wife Suja Jones, 37, lodged a complaint that he had sexually abused their four-year-old daughter Stella.
"We have been informed that a complaint has been lodged regarding the rape of a minor girl who is a French national. The complaint names the father of the child, who is a consular agent of this consulate-general," the consulate confirmed in a statement Monday.
City police, however, maintained that it was waiting for an official response from the central government on the status of Mazurier to proceed with the case.
"We are waiting for a reply from the home and external affairs ministries to our letter seeking clarification on Mazurier's status. Further action against him will depend on the course of investigation," a senior police official told IANS.
The French consulate also assured the police its cooperation in the case and assisting the family of the child.
"An investigation is under way for which this consulate general is extending cooperation to the police and authorities in charge. We remain also in touch with the family of the child," the statement said.
The rape charge came to light when the official's wife, who hails from Kerala, approached Enfold India, an NGO-based pro-active health trust in the city, for counselling, as she was going through a trauma of being a witness to her husband abusing their child over the weeks.
As part of the investigation, police sent the minor to a state-run hospital for examination and a medical report to substantiate the charge against Mazurier.
In a related development, police whisked away about 20 activists of social and women's organisations protesting against Mazurier in front of the French consulate in the city centre and seeking his arrest for the crime of sexually abusing his minor daughter.
The couple got married over a decade ago at Port Saint Marie in France and has three children, including two sons, aged seven and 20 months.
On being posted in the consulate, Mazurier moved to Bangalore from France in 2008.
His wife also accused him of committing domestic violence against her.
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