Confusion over status keeps French official out of jail

French Consulate official Pascal Mazurier stayed out of police custody on Saturday, too, because of confusion over his diplomatic status. He has been charged with raping his three-and-a-half year-old daughter.

Although Pascal reportedly assured the police that he would not leave the City till all legalities were completed, the police wrote to the State Home Department seeking clarity from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) whether he indeed enjoyed diplomatic immunity.
“We will not arrest him until we get the clarification. We are expecting clarity at the earliest,” Director-General & Inspector General of Police (Concurrent Charge) L R Pachau told Deccan Herald.

In another development, Asha S Basu, counsel for Suja Jones Mazurier, the French diplomat’s wife, has written to the Union Home Minister and Minister for External Affairs asking them to ensure that the diplomat is made to face trial in India even if he faces immunity.

Counsel wanted Pascal to be restrained from leaving the country till the legal proceedings are completed. Besides, under no circumstances should he be allowed custody of their children, who are French nationals, counsel urged. The advocate suggested that a red alert may be issued to all airport authorities. The State Home Department forwarded the letter seeking clarification on Pascal’s immunity status to the MEA, which will take up the issue on Monday. The French embassy is also likely to verify documents relating to the French consulate official on Monday.

On Friday, “The police handed over Pascal to Vincent Caumontat, Deputy Consul, Head of Chancery, Consulate General of France in the City. They should ensure his safety, dignity and freedom and prevent possible attacks on him,” said T Suneel Kumar, Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order).

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