A day after the Joe Biden administration declared that the high office held by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should shield him from lawsuits in the killing of a journalist, the US State Department has cited Prime Minister Narendra Modi as one of the examples for being given similar kind of protection from prosecution in the US.
When asked about giving immunity to the Saudi Crown Prince over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, US State Department principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said in a briefing on Friday, “This is not the first time that the United States has done this. It is a longstanding and consistent line of effort. It has been applied to a number of heads of state previously.”
He said: “Some examples: President [Jean-Bertrand] Aristide in Haiti in 1993, President [Robert] Mugabe in Zimbabwe in 2001, Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi in India in 2014, and President [Joseph] Kabila in the DRC in 2018. This is a consistent practice that we have afforded to heads of state, heads of government, and foreign ministers.”
The Special Investigation Team gave a clean chit to Modi, the then Gujarat chief minister, and others over allegations of conspiracy in the 2002 riots.
In June this year, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal against his exoneration in one of the cases linked to the killings.
The US had placed a visa ban on Modi in 2005 since the riots took place under his watch. It was removed after Modi became the PM in 2014.