By YKA Staff:
India’s High Commissioner to New Zealand, Ravi Thapar, has been recalled to India after news of investigation against his wife has surfaced. His wife had allegedly kept a staff member in slavery and assaulted him.
The staff, a chef, had returned in May to India and has not pressed charges. The New Zealand police, has done a welfare check with him where he responded that he is well and happy to be home. The victim, is said to have been found 20 km from the diplomat’s house, in Wellington in a distressed state. He was taken to the police station where he gave his statement after which he spent several nights at a night shelter.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand said, “MFAT was aware a staff member raised with New Zealand police concerns about his treatment in the high commission” about Thapar’s departure. About the victim, the ministry said, “MFAT has been advised the individual concerned elected not to take the matter further. That staff member had independent legal representation and decided to return to India.” The Ministry of External Affairs of India has said that an investigation will be conducted given the seriousness of the allegations.
India had faced similar embarrassment in 2013 when Devyani Khobragade, Indian deputy consul general in New York City, had been publicly arrested and strip searched when her domestic help had accused her of not paying a minimum wage. Khobragade was also charged with visa fraud and for making false statements. She, later, returned to India after much outcry from India about the way she was treated.
New Zealand, unlike the U.S., respected the diplomatic immunity that a High Commissioner is entitled to and did not press charges. They have left the investigation to India. Like Khobragade who is waiting to be reinstated and has faced no prosecution, Thapar, too, would probably go unscathed from this incident.