The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Murder rocks diplomat enclave

New Delhi, May 25: The family of the longest serving ambassador in India is caught in a scandal with police accusing the son of the Senegal envoy of killing his driver last night.

Mansoor Ali, the son of Mansoor Diop — the dean of the diplomatic corps in Delhi with a tenure starting in 1988 — is said to have pushed his driver Dilawar during a quarrel after coming out of the Taj Palace Hotel here.

Dilawar, 32, suffered fatal injuries when he fell and his head hit on a hard object, police sources said.

The controversy comes when there is increased interaction between India and Senegal. A delegation, led by secretary (west) Shashank, has just returned from Dakar after successful bilateral meetings.

Senegalese President Abdoulae Wade is also planning a state visit to India towards the end of this year.

Ali could not be picked up for interrogation as he enjoys diplomatic immunity, courtesy his father.

The Vienna Convention ensures diplomatic cover to a serving diplomat and his immediate family, who cannot be interrogated or arrested for any crime they may have committed during the envoy’s posting in a foreign country. They can be interrogated and tried only after the diplomatic cover is removed.

Police, who have reportedly established the son’s involvement in the driver’s death, is seeking permission from the external affairs ministry for the withdrawal of the immunity.

Ministry officials said, so far, neither the police nor Diop has approached them with any request. If there is indeed a request to remove the diplomatic cover, permission is highly unlikely, they said.

According to sources, Diop is well connected in his country; one reason for his long Delhi tenure is his closeness to an influential religious leader in Senegal.

President Wade’s regime, said to be not too happy with Diop, has failed to replace him because of his strong connections.

Indications are the police may find it difficult to get the diplomatic cover removed from Ali. Sources said even if the envoy’s son is involved in Dilawar’s death, there is no evidence to suggest he did it deliberately.

Ali was at the hotel last night to attend Africa Day celebrations. Driven to the hotel by Dilawar, Ali allegedly found him drunk when he stepped out around 10.30 pm.

When he asked for the car key to drive himself, an argument is said to have broken out. Diop’s son then reportedly pushed Dilawar so hard that he fell, fatally hitting his head on a hard object.

The police have registered a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Ali may yet be questioned by the police. But this could be done in private, without bringing him to the police station. If he is ultimately charged, then he may be sent back to Dakar where he will have to serve the sentence.

The western African nation of Senegal — the main supplier of phosphoric acid and phosphates to its second largest export destination of India — is an important member of the Organisation of Islamic Countries, an outfit with whose members Delhi is trying to build bridges to prevent anti-India resolutions by Pakistan, another member.

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