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Ministry clears diplomat sued by her ex-help

Last Updated: Saturday, July 10, 2010 - 00:29

New Delhi: The External Affairs ministry Friday gave a clean chit to senior diplomat Neena Malhotra, who was sued by her former domestic help for allegedly subjecting her to "slavery and peonage" for over three years during her stint in New York as India`s Consul General.

The ministry had seen media reports and looked into the matter, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash told reporters.

"It is understood that Shanti Gurung, service staff of Dr. Neena Malhotra, then Consul at Consulate General of India, New York, had disappeared on the eve of the latter`s return to India," added Prakash.

"Media reports have also contained certain allegations against Dr. Malhotra, which do not appear to be in conformity with facts," he said.

Malhotra is now working as director in southern division of the external affairs ministry in New Delhi.

The 21-year-old Gurung recently filed a lawsuit against Malhotra and her husband Jogesh, seeking unspecified damages for three-plus years of "slavery and peonage", according to New York Post.

Gurung claimed the couple tricked her into accompanying them to the US in March 2006 with the promise of Rs.5,000 a month, with increments every six months.

Gurung alleged in her lawsuit that she was "essentially kidnapped" from India in 2006 at age 17 and was ordered to give daily massages and perform other chores.

However, she only received a single payment of Rs.5,500 in the US and was threatened "if she ever tried to leave, police would beat and arrest her...", the suit says.

Gurung, then 17, was allegedly made to lie to immigration officials about her age and about a salary of USD 7 an-hour to get her a visa, it says.


First Published: Saturday, July 10, 2010 - 00:29
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