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Cop arrest not revenge: India

New Delhi, April 5: India today dismissed suggestions that the detention of a New York Police Department officer here last month was retaliation for the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York last December.

Manuel Encarnacion was arrested at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in the capital on March 11 on landing from New York, after his luggage was found to contain three live bullets — a violation of India’s Arms Act.

But the 49-year-old cop who worked the Harlem beat in New York’s Manhattan was released on bail the day he was arrested, and is currently in New Delhi with his Iranian wife Vida, who he had come to India to meet, officials said. He cannot leave India till he is allowed to do so by a court which is hearing the charges against him on April 19.

M. Sridharan, the spokesperson of the Indian consulate in New York, said it was “ridiculous” to suggest “that there was any connection between the detention of a NYPD official in New Delhi and the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York”.

The New York Post, a New York tabloid, reported earlier this week about Encarnacion’s arrest. Encarnacion, it said, had told colleagues back in the US that an officer who arrested him in New Delhi commented about Khobragade’s arrest.

Asked on Friday about the incident and any links to the Khobragade arrest, US state department spokeswoman Marie Harf said: “We want to get past some of the tensions that have been there over the past several months and move on. I think we feel like we’ve moved past this and hope the Indians have as well.”

But New York police commissioner William Bratton and the city’s mayor Bill de Blasio have both said they are worried about Encarnacion’s arrest.

Peter King, the Republican US Representative from Long Island, New York, who is one of America’s most vocal and influential Congressmen on internal security, has written to secretary of state John Kerry asking him to intervene.

King, in his letter — that his office has since made public — has suggested that Encarnacion was arrested as retaliation for the spat between India and the US over Khobragade’s treatment in New York.