The Tourism Ministry has contested claims made by a former accounts executive from its tourism office in London, Sanjay Mechery, that it owed him 91,000 British pounds in damages after he won a court case against his removal.
Amid reports the tourism office had sought diplomatic immunity against the order, a top ministry official clarified, “We have not sought any diplomatic immunity. In any case, the official was not employed by the ministry but was hired locally, so he was not a government official. The office in London had sufficient reasons to remove him.”
Officials said the ministry had been fighting the case since 2011 when Mechery, a British national of Indian origin, was sacked on charges including embezzlement of funds. He won the case in 2012 and, as per the verdict, the London office is to pay him his dues, but has not so far.
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“Soon after he was sacked, he approached the UK Employment Tribunal which ruled in his favour, asking the tourism office to pay the legal charges and the entire salary due to him. The London property of the office was also attached to recover the dues, but the office claimed it was not a commercial space and was owned by the Government of India,” said another official.