The Indian embassy in Washington said that it had taken up the question of diplomatic immunity, for Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, with the State Department.
Mr. Nath faces the possibility of prosecution under a case filed against him in April 2010 by an NGO, Sikhs for Justice, alleging that he was involved in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.
“The State Department is examining it,” Virander Paul, Minister for Press at the embassy, said to The Hindu, adding that the embassy had not yet received an answer on its query.
Media reports quoted State Department officials saying that they had “not made any determination on this point.”
India has sought clarification from the United States on whether Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath has diplomatic immunity in view of summons having been issued against him by a U.S. court on a lawsuit alleging his involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
The U.S. has not responded so far. The matter is under examination, according to information available here.
The clarification was sought by the Indian Embassy following the case filed against him by a non-governmental organisation, Sikhs for Justice, in April last year.
Some reports said the U.S. was disinclined to grant diplomatic immunity to Mr. Kamal Nath on the ground that they would not like to step in a matter between an NGO and him but Indian officials did not confirm it.
Mr. Kamal Nath was quoted as saying, “As far as I know, the U.S. has not rejected it [India's request], at least not to my knowledge. I have never been charged with any offence here in India in the last 25 years.”
Lawyers deny summons
The Minister's lawyers denied that he has been served summons in the case as claimed by a member of the NGO.
They contended that 740 cases were filed in India relating to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and Mr. Kamal Nath's name did not figure in any of them.
“Discussions are under way between the Indian Embassy and the U.S. authorities on the issue [diplomatic immunity],” they said.