European diplomat accused of stealing sculptor’s iPhone in Delhi

Virtues of diplomatic immunity, vices of bureaucrats driven by iPhone passion!

, TNN | Oct 1, 2012, 12.56AM IST
NEW DELHI: Some Indian diplomats have grabbed the headlines recently for wife-beating and misbehaving with flight attendants after getting drunk, but are their European counterparts any better?

European diplomat accused of stealing sculptor's iPhone in Delhi
The stolen iPhone belonged to well-known Italian sculptor Simona Bocchi, who has been based in Udaipur for the past few years.

Consider the case of a European diplomat, who allegedly stole an iPhone from a gathering in a five-star hotel recently. The cellphone was later recovered from a woman, also a foreign national and a close friend of the diplomat.

The diplomat, who belongs to a west European nation and of Indian origin, threatened to invoke diplomatic immunity when the phone was traced to him by Delhi Police. It was only when he was categorically told that the matter would be taken up with his government through the ministry of external affairs and that theft charges would be pressed against him that he relented and returned the phone.

The phone belonged to well-known Italian sculptor Simona Bocchi, who has been based in Udaipur for the past few years. She had come to Delhi for the display of her work at the Italian Embassy.

The day she lost her phone, Bocchi had visited gatherings for artists at Taj Mansingh and Hyatt hotels. She informed the police about her loss, saying that the phone could have gone missing from either of the two hotels.

IEML, receipt led to phone

While the phone’s SIM card was not in use, the police still managed to trace the device, thanks to its IMEI number, to the diplomat’s close friend. She was found to be using the phone with a separate SIM card. She also revealed that the phone had been given to her by the diplomat, who lives in south Delhi.

Initially, the diplomat denied outright that the phone could have belonged to any other person. When confronted with the phone’s sale receipt, which Bocchi still had with her, the diplomat claimed that he had bought the phone from Khan Market. However, he could not identify the seller. “In any case, Khan Market is not a place where stolen goods are easily available,” said a source.

Then, the diplomat went on to explain the virtues of diplomatic immunity and how he could not be questioned, let alone booked. It was only the threat of taking up the matter with his government through MEA — accusing him of having stolen the phone — that led him to change his mind and return the phone. The diplomat did not reveal though exactly how he managed to lay his hands on the cellphone. For Bocchi, who got back her phone on Saturday, it has been a pleasant surprise.


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