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Devyani Khobragade: India orders closure of US embassy club for selling duty-free liquor on the sly

New Delhi: In an order conveying its strong displeasure, the Indian government has taken a step towards shutting down  the club of American Community Support Association (ACSA) , popularly known as American Club in New
India TV News Desk January 08, 2014 9:44 IST
India TV News Desk
New Delhi: In an order conveying its strong displeasure, the Indian government has taken a step towards shutting down  the club of American Community Support Association (ACSA) , popularly known as American Club in New Delhi, as part of measures to put pressure on the US in the Devyani Khobragade case.

Ministry of External Affairs officials said, duty-free liquor from the club was being sold on the sly by Americans, which was a violation of Indian customs and excise laws.

ACSA has a restaurant, a swimming pool, a soccer field besides a host of facilities which are used by American diplomats and US nationals in India.

It also has a tennis court the membership which is a privilege for few. To become a member, one has to be recommended by a US diplomat in India.

It is a second home to the American expatriate community in New Delhi.

Diplomatic note verbales have been sent by the Ministry of External Affairs ( MEA) to the US embassy asking US diplomats to shut down the club and stop sale of duty- free liquor immediately.

MEA officials said, the US commissary is making profits by selling duty-free liquor and other items to diplomats from other countries, in violation of customs and excise laws.

The US commissary sells duty-free liuor, wine and exotic foreign goods at cheap rates, without paying customs duty, to Western diplomats.

The American Club is located near Gate E of the huge US embassy compound.

It runs several restaurants named Delhi Diner Snack Bar, The Great Escape Bar, Windward Cafe Poolside bar, and Out of India restaurant.

Meanwhile, in New York, the US is yet to grant the G1 visa to Khobragade. According to  reports a deadline of 10 days will be given to the US which will also mean that it now has to decide if it will issue a G1 visa giving immunity to Khobragade or face more Indian action to bring diplomatic protocol strictly at par with other countries.