Allegations of rape yet unproven, say police and Saudi embassy

Gurgaon/New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) Gurgaon police on Wednesday said allegations of rape against a Saudi diplomat were not yet proven even as the Saudi Arabian embassy strongly denied the allegations and protested the “unwarranted media briefing before investigations are complete”.

The diplomat is covered under the Vienna Convention that provides diplomatic immunity, and police said they will probe the case as per the Convention.

On Wednesday evening, Saudi Ambassador Saud Mohammed Alsati met senior officials of the external affairs ministry and protested against the police action at the residence of one of its diplomats charged with the rape of two Nepalese women.

According to a police complaint filed on Tuesday in Gurgaon, two Nepalese women alleged that they were raped and gang-raped and subjected to unnatural sex by a Saudi diplomat over four months, and also by his friends and guests. They also alleged that his wife and daughter also harassed them and beat them.

Gurgaon police chief Navdeep Singh Virk, however, told the media on Wednesday: “An FIR doesn’t mean that the allegation has been proven, but (it means the) start of investigation.”

Virk said Haryana Police was sharing details with the external affairs ministry on the alleged rape. He said police have started their investigations after filing an FIR.

On Tuesday, police registered cases against the diplomat, said to be a First Secretary, and “unknown people” said to be the diplomat’s friends, at the DLF-2 police station under sections of gang rape, rape, unnatural sex and other sections of the Indian Penal Code, including wrongful confinement, voluntarily causing hurt, and criminal conspiracy.

Official sources said the external affairs ministry will get into the picture in case police file charges and need to interrogate the person.

The Saudi embassy, in a statement said it has brought to the notice of the MEA “the unwarranted media briefing before investigations are complete” and also “the police intrusion into a diplomat’s house against all diplomatic conventions”.

The embassy said it would, however, wait for clarification from the MEA about the matter and for the outcome of the investigations into the allegations.

No one has been arrested so far.

Nepal Ambassador in India Deep Upadhyay on Wednesday said they were in touch with the MEA and police to seek a detailed report on the alleged case.

“The Nepal embassy is in touch with the MEA and local police authorities. We don’t know officially whether he (the accused) is a diplomat or not,” Upadhyay told media persons in New Delhi.

He said Nepal was carrying out a parallel investigation into the case.

The two Nepalese women alleged that they were lured to India, “sold” to the diplomat, and held captive for over three months during which they were taken to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia for a few days. They alleged that they were forced to perform “unnatural sex” for the diplomat and his friends at knife-point.

The women were on Monday evening “rescued” from an apartment on the fifth floor of the Ambience Island Caitriona complex in Gurgaon. They were “rescued” after the intervention of the Nepalese embassy and with the help of NGO Maiti Nepal-India.

One of the women told media persons that both of them were regularly beaten and one of them was even attacked with a knife.

Both the women have appeared on the electronic media with their faces covered. One of them alleged that she was attacked with a knife and showed an injury mark on her hand.

She also alleged that security guards of the diplomat tried to manhandle police personnel when they went to the Gurgaon apartment on Monday evening.

Referring to the diplomat’s immunity, Virk said: “We have established that the residents of that flat enjoy diplomatic immunity in India. As per allegations, the offences were committed by residents and some guests in that flat.”

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