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'No determination yet on diplomatic immunity for Nath'

January 24, 2011 11:22 IST

The United States has made "no determination" on the question of diplomatic immunity for Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath against the backdrop of the summons issued against him by a US court on a lawsuit alleging his involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The State Department said that US is looking forward to working with Kamal Nath in his new capacity as the Urban Development Minister. "The immunity question remains under review by the State Department; we have not not made any determination on this point," a State Department official told PTI in response to media reports that it has denied "diplomatic immunity" request from India.

A clarification was sought by the Indian Embassy in washington on whether Kamal Nath enjoys diplomatic immunity following the case filed against him by an NGO, Sikhs for Justice, in April last year.

"The Department of State has been following closely the civil complaint filed against Minister Kamal Nath," the official said.

"We understand that the plaintiffs have until February 9 to file an amended complaint. We also understand that there may be a factual dispute as to service. At this point is unclear whether there is any live action against Minister Nath and what its content might be," the official said.

In a statement, Sikhs for Justice yesterday said that an amended complaint will be filed in the 1984 anti-Sikh riot case being pursued in a New York federal district court against Nath.

Gurpatwant S Pannun, the lawyer of the Sikh group, yesterday claimed that the Department of State has declined to intervene.

However, the State Department officials refuted all such reports and said that "no determination" has been made yet on the question of diplomatic immunity to Kamal Nath. The US, in fact, is looking forward to working with him in his new capacity as the Urban Development Minister. "As Commerce Minister and more recently as Roads and Highways Minister, Kamal Nath has been a strong advocate and an important partner of the United States in deepening our trade and economic relationship," the State Department official said.

"We look forward to continuing to work closely with him in his new capacity as Minister for Urban Development, particularly as we seek explore opportunities to develop new partnerships between our countries' cities," the official said.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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