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‘Ronen Sen issue can be closed’

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Privileges Committee of the Lok Sabha has recommended that the privilege issue against the Ambassador to the U.S., Ronen Sen, be treated as closed in view of his “unconditional apologies” for his reported comments against the Members of Parliament who were critical of the India-U.S. civilian nuclear deal.

The committee’s report was tabled in the House on Thursday. Following the deposition of Mr. Sen before it on October 29, the committee concluded that “no breach of privilege or contempt of the House is involved in the matter.” Accepting his contention that he made a “serious error of judgment for which I have no excuse” in airing his angst “at the prospects of losing a major historic opportunity for India,” the committee noted that “this matter could well serve as an advisory on what ought not to be done by a diplomat.”

The committee said the matter was a case in point on how “uncalled for expression of pent-up feelings on a highly sensitive issue in one unguarded moment by a responsible diplomat can give rise to so many misgivings.” It accepted Mr. Sen’s statement that he never gave a formal interview to web-based news agency rediff.com and whatever attributed to him in the report was based on an informal conversation with the correspondent. Stating that he had no excuse for the kind of remarks he made, including a reference to journalists running around for sound bytes as “headless chicken[s],” he said the comment was made without malice.

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