Toddler case: HC sets aside notice of cancellation of OCI status of Indian-origin couple in US

The Delhi High Court has set aside a notice of cancellation of OCI status sent by the Consulate General of India in Houston to a US-based Indian-origin couple who were friends with the foster parents of a three-year-old Indian girl found dead in a culvert in Dallas in October last.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru said the May 3, 2018 show cause notice, sent to Manoj N Abraham and Nissy T Abraham asking why their Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status be not cancelled, gives a clear impression that the Consulate General of India (CGI) has "pre-decided the issue".

"It also does not indicate the reasons on the basis of which it is proposed to cancel the OCI card issued to the petitioners. In this view, the impugned order dated May 3, 2018 is set aside," the court directed.

It also said that if the central government or the CGI propose to cancel the OCI status of the couple from Kerala then a specific show cause notice shall be issued to them indicating the reasons for such an action and they would be provided an opportunity to be heard.

The order came on the couple's plea challenging the May 3 notice of the CGI.

The petitioners' were friends with Wesley Mathews and his wife Sini, the foster parents of the three-year old girl whose decomposed body was found in a culvert close to her home on October 22 last year, two weeks after her Indian-American foster parents reported her missing.

An autopsy had concluded that the minor died of homicidal violence, but how she died could not be determined due to the decomposition of the body.

Her adoptive father, Wesley, originally told police he had left her outside the home at 3.00 AM to punish her for not drinking her milk. Then he changed his statement and said she had choked on her milk while he tried to feed her in the garage.

He had also admitted that the family had gone out to dinner that night and left her home alone.

The couple from Kerala had adopted the minor from an orphanage in Bihar in 2016.

While Wesley was indicted on charges of capital murder and tampering with evidence, his wife Sini was indicted on a charge of abandoning a child.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)