Ten days after Saudi Embassy First Secretary Majed Hassan Ashoor was accused of raping two women from Nepal, the Saudi government tonight recalled him from his position in New Delhi. Confirming this, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that Ashoor has “left India.”
Ashoor, who enjoyed diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention, could not have been tried under Indian law unless the Saudis “waived” his immunity.
The Indian Express had first reported the identity of the Saudi diplomat as well as the fact that the Saudi embassy had invoked diplomatic immunity in this case.
Ashoor, in his 50s, was the deputy head of the visa section and is believed to have shifted to the Embassy premises or with colleagues after police “rescued” the two women from his apartment in Gurgaon on September 7. India had considered expelling the diplomat — who faced allegations of rape and assault — if the Embassy did not let him be questioned by Gurgaon police. Sources said Ashoor was a key diplomat who held additional charge at the Saudi Ambassador’s office. Until the rape controversy, Ashoor lived in Gurgaon with his wife and three children, sources said.
The diplomat left six days after Saudi Ambassador Saud Mohammed Al Sati was asked by MEA chief of protocol Jaideep Mazumdar to cooperate with the police probe. The Saudi Embassy called the allegations “false” and protested the alleged police “intrusion” into the diplomat’s house. The two Nepalese women alleged that they were raped by the diplomat and his “guests” repeatedly after which the local police filed an FIR.
Incidentally, the Nepal government was waiting for New Delhi to take the lead. Earlier today, Nepal’s ambassador Deep Kumar Upadhyay said: “Gurgaon police has done a very wonderful job and the MEA is also cooperating. And we have very friendly relations with Saudi government also. Nepal and Saudi Arabia have good relations — that’s why we are hopeful that it would be amicably settled and the victims will get justice. It’s a sensitive issue that’s (why) we are waiting and it may take some time. We are in contact with the Ministry of External Affairs.”