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43 officials in Indian diplomatic missions to face action

New Delhi:  Government is taking action with regard to complaints against 43 officials of Indian diplomatic missions in 17 countries facing a variety of charges including corruption and dereliction of duty, top External Affairs Ministry sources said today.

“Action is being taken in all 43 cases as per established procedure,” Spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup said.

Some of the complaints are against low-ranking officials and locally-hired staff and the cases are being dealt with as per laid down procedures, he said.

“The Ministry takes seriously any complaint that it receives about the performance of its missions and posts abroad. Complaints are dealt with as per established and prescribed procedures,” Swarup told PTI from Bangkok where he is accompanying External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

The recall of India’s High Commissioner to New Zealand Ravi Thapar following accusations of his wife assaulting a domestic help has brought the focus back on the conduct of the country’s diplomats posted abroad.

As per official figures, six complaints against officials in Indian missions were received in 2012, 10 in 2013 and 27 in 2014.

A maximum of eight complaints each have been received from the missions in UK and Madagascar in the last three years.

Complaints have also been received against Indian Embassy staff in Afghanistan, Austria, Canada, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Botswana, Thailand, Zambia, Mauritius, Morocco, Netherlands, South Africa and Mali.

Two complaints were received from UK in 2012, one in 2013 and five last year.

A chef at the Indian High Commission in New Zealand had last month alleged he was kept in slavery and was assaulted by Sharmila Thapar, wife of Ravi Thapar, following which the External Affairs Ministry sent a team to conduct an inquiry.

The High Commissioner was recalled here based on the inquiry report.

Further inquiries will be conducted in the matter, Swarup said.

Thapar, however, denied that the staff member had been assaulted by his wife and said he was returning to India to take care of his mother.

“Though no charges were pressed by the service staff member, the Ministry will investigate the matter further.  The High Commissioner has been posted back to Headquarters,” Swarup said yesterday.

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