Tainted NRI presence at Queen’s river pageant triggers storm

The presence of an Indian-origin man on the royal barge with Queen Elizabeth during pageant on River Thames has raised a storm after it was revealed that he had been previously convicted and jailed for sex offences

Written by Press Trust Of India | London | Published: June 8, 2012 12:55 am

The presence of an Indian-origin man on the royal barge with Queen Elizabeth during Sunday’s pageant on River Thames has raised a storm after it was revealed that he had been previously convicted and jailed for sex offences.

Questions have been raised over security vetting of individuals invited to the royal barge to witness the Diamond Jubilee pageant. Selected high profile individuals were present,besides members of the royal family.

Harbinder Singh Rana,52,jailed in the 1980s for posing as a doctor before women and performing internal examinations and administering injections,was present on the barge,apparently at the invitation extended by Prince Charles.

Rana is the “honorary director” of Anglo-Sikh Heritage Trail,a charity organisation whose aim is to promote “a greater awareness of the shared heritage between Sikhs and Britain”. He reportedly accompanied Prince Charles during a visit to India in 2006.

The tabloid press on Thursday went to town,highlighting Rana’s presence on the royal barge,and questioning Metropolitan Police about vetting guests before allowing them on the royal barge and in proximity to the royal family.

A spokesperson for Prince Charles said the prince was not aware of Rana’s convictions. She said,“Harbinder Singh was asked to take part in the pageant as he is a leading member of the Sikh community and someone who has done a lot of charitable work.”

Asked whether he had been vetted,Rana,who lives in Walsall,West Midlands,told The Mirror,“I don’t know what checks they do or how they do them”.

Rana said,“I was given the invitation and I attended. The fact that the Prince of Wales invited me clearly shows what I have done for the community since then”. He said of his conviction: “It was very circumstantial. It is an area I have switched off from my life and got on with it”.

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