NEW DELHI • Indian police are investigating accusations that a Saudi embassy official repeatedly raped two Nepali maids at his home close to the Indian capital, New Delhi, in a case that could reignite debate over immunity granted to diplomats.
The two women, aged 30 and 50, told police that they were raped, assaulted, starved and held hostage over several months. Police said a medical examination confirmed that the women had been raped.
Commissioner of Police Navdeep Singh Virk said he had written to the Foreign Ministry and the Saudi Arabian Embassy asking if the man has diplomatic immunity.
A spokesman for India's Foreign Ministry said it had requested a report from the police and would decide on what action to take after reviewing the information.
Police cannot immediately arrest diplomats because, under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, they enjoy immunity from arrest, criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits in the countries where they are posted.
The women told the Times Now TV channel they left Nepal to work at the official's house in Saudi Arabia, but the violence started only when they arrived in India. "They would beat us every night and often there was more than one man who would torture and rape us," one of the women said, referring to household members and guests.
Governments may press a foreign government to waive immunity in cases where serious crimes are committed.
Police said the women were rescued on Monday after the police were tipped off by a non-governmental organisation and officials at the Nepali Embassy.