New Delhi: Soon after India's envoy to New Zealand, Ravi Thapar was recalled following allegation that his wife had assaulted a staff member, it has come to light that at least 27 diplomats posted abroad are facing charges on various grounds ranging from corruption, harassment and dereliction of duty over the last year.
An Indian Express report quoting South Block sources said the trend is 'worrying' since the number of diplomats facing charges abroad has grown almost threefold over the past one year.
Of the 27, five are in Indian missions in the UK, five in Madagascar, three each in Kazakhstan and Kenya, two each in Botswana and Mali, and one each in Afghanistan, Austria, Italy, Japan, Morocco, the Netherlands and Thailand, the report said.
“Ever since the new NDA government has come to power, the probity of officials is being given high priority. Complaints against officials and diplomats, who are posted overseas, are taken very seriously by the MEA. The high number could be a reflection of the better responsiveness as compared to previous years,” a government official was quoted as saying by The Sunday Express.
The recall of Thapar who had been in New Zealand for the last two years and has been accused of assaulting their domestic help, bears mentioning of the Devyani Khobragade episode that took the Indo-US relationship to a worrying level.
Investigations into all the charges against the 27 diplomats (excluding Thapar) are being carried out by different committees set up by the external affairs ministry.
“Ever since the new NDA government has come to power, the probity of officials is being given high priority. Complaints against officials and diplomats, who are posted overseas, are taken very seriously by the MEA,” an official who did not wish to be identified told The Indian Express.