Refuses to return, goes on leave till "Foreign Secretary retires"

New Delhi: India's High Commissioner in New Zealand, Harish Kumar Dogra, who had refused to obey a recall order for over a month, has handed over charge to the Deputy Chief of Mission and proceeded on leave till Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran retires in September.

Mr. Dogra has communicated his handing over of the charge to Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran in a letter after the Government issued an ultimatum to him to do so and return, official sources said here on Saturday.

Mr. Dogra, a career diplomat of the rank of Secretary, however, has refused to return and decided to go on leave till the "Foreign Secretary retires [in September this year]." He has sought some time to leave his official residence and return to New Delhi, the sources said.

The envoy's recall was ordered in the first week of March. Refusing to obey it, he sent a letter to Mr. Saran accusing him of "impropriety" and asked him to prove charges against him or resign.

Appearance of this letter in the local media in New Zealand angered the External Affairs Ministry, which threatened disciplinary action against him.

In a second letter to Mr. Saran, Mr. Dogra accused him again of violating rules and his human rights and challenged him to prove charges against him. PTI, UNI