UAE diplomat detained in New Delhi

Filed on March 13, 2013

An Emirati diplomat was detained at New Delhi Airport by Indian customs for 12 hours, on charges of smuggling gold with claims the amount was 37 kilograms.

Both state news agency Wam and Indian media reported the news, which was confirmed by Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Butti Al Hamed.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the diplomat to interrogate the charges against him, he said.

Al Hamed stressed that the ministry and the diplomats were committed to observing the diplomatic norms and laws of the countries where they worked.

Indian media reported the Indian revenue intelligence officials received a tip-off and detained both the diplomat and an Indian businessman at the airport and allegedly seized 37kg of gold jewellery, worth about Rs100 million.

According to reports, the diplomat initially refused to allow officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to search his bag. However, after search orders were issued, his bag was opened and the jewellery was allegedly discovered.

The diplomat and the businessman had arrived from Singapore. DRI officials, who detained the businessman, have taken up the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs, since he enjoys immunity in criminal and civil matters.

Officials at the UAE Embassy in Delhi were not available for comment on the case on Tuesday. External Affairs ministry officials were also tight-lipped and said the matter would be taken up as per the diplomatic convention.

(With inputs from Wam)

Nithin Belle

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