Probe against French diplomat hits a wall

Lack of clarity on the current working status and legal hurdles have prevented the City police from proceeding further against Pascal Mazurier, the French diplomat facing incest charge.

 The police are unable either to detain or arrest Mazurier as it is not known whether he enjoys diplomatic immunity, a provision for any diplomatic staff under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR) 1961, which bars any establishment from initiating civil and criminal proceedings.

There is absolutely no progress in the case as the police are helpless on account of technical grounds. The police booked him under Section 376 IPC. He voluntarily came to the police station and co-operated with the investigating officers, said sources in the police department.

Mazurier was let off, after obtaining an assurance from him that he would not leave the City under any circumstances till the police clarify about his diplomatic immunity. He was handed over to a senior officer in the Consulate General of France in Bangalore.

“We handed him over to Vincent Caumontat, Deputy Consul, Head of Chancery, Consulate General of France, till we get clarification. It is up to the Deputy Consul to ensure his freedom and dignity. They should also ensure his safety,” said a senior police officer. A clarification had been sought from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on the category of Pascal’s rank in the consulate and a reply is expected on Monday, the officer added.

Pascal’s wife, Suja Jones Mazurier, has submitted a requisition through her legal advisor in Mumbai to Home Minister P Chidambaram and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna. She has requested the MEA to ensure Pascal remains in the country till legal proceedings are over, not allow him to take custody of their three children (all French nationals) and direct the French Embassy in New Delhi to assist her legally and financially as she is unemployed.

The way ahead

The police will not be able to do anything if the MEA says that Pascal enjoys immunity status. The police can neither detain nor arrest him. Such a situation calls for the intervention of French authorities. The City police will have to submit case details to the French authorities for further investigation. It will be up to the French authorities to finalise the place to hear the case. Suja will have to move the French court if the French authorities decide to hear the matter there.

Three crucial persons in the case - Gita Suresh Kumar, a domestic help of Suja and doctors Dr Madhuri, pediatrician and Dr Nalini, the gynecologist who confirmed the rape - will have to go to France to attend the hearing. All their expenses will have to be borne by the French government. Pascal faces a 10-year jail term, if convicted.

In case Mazurier does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, the case will be treated as any other rape case in India. The City police will arrest him, file a charge sheet and a local court will hear the matter.

Denies allegations

Pascal has denied the allegations against him. He told the police that he never indulged in such a heinous crime. “I never raped my daughter. All allegations of my wife are false and baseless,” he told the police.

The police have secured the clothes that Pascal and his daughter wore on June 13, the day when the alleged rape took place. The clothes have been sent to Forensic Science Laboratories for examination, said an investigating officer.

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