India has decided to revoke the OCI cards of the Indian-American foster parents of Sherin Mathews, the three-year-old girl found dead in a culvert in Dallas, and some of their relatives and friends, in a case that attracted global attention and forced the government to tighten the adoption process.
Toddler Sherin's 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.
Counsel General of India in Houston, Anupam Ray said India is cancelling the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards of Wesley Mathews his wife Sini, who are in jail, and the couple's some relatives and close associates as public opinion in India on this issue is inflamed and travel of these people to India is not in public interest.
Manoj N Abraham and Nissy T Abraham, friends of the Mathews family, were among the first to receive a notice of cancellation of the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI), which they have challenged in Delhi High Court.
Wesley's parents are also in the list.
Ray told PTI that, "India has not forgotten this little child and in public interest, the Consulate will recommend their names for insertion in the 'Blacklist' maintained by the Government of India at the earliest."
"After Houston Consulate's extensive research on this case, it has come to the knowledge of the Consulate through diplomatic and privileged sources that Manoj Abraham and Nissy T Abraham have been in close contact with the adoptive parents of Sherin Mathews before, during and after the murder," Ray said.
"We would have found out more about the circumstances of this heartless murder if Abraham had cooperated in providing information."
"The case is developing in Delhi, but our position on providing visa is unchanged," Ray confirmed.
An autopsy had concluded that Sherin 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 Sherin outside the home at 3 am to punish her for not drinking her milk. Then he changed his statement and said Sherin had choked on her milk while he tried to feed her in the garage.
He also admitted the family had gone out to dinner that night and left Sherin home alone.
The couple from Kerala had adopted Sherin 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.
Following the incident, India’s nodal body for adoption Child Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), has made mental well-being of overseas applicants seeking to adopt a child an important criterion for determining their eligibility.
Meanwhile, the attorney representing the mother of Sherin has withdrawn as her counsel Friday over nonpayment.
Attorney Mitchell Nolte filed a motion in Dallas County and the motion was accepted.
Nolte has represented Sini, currently being held in the Dallas county jail on USD 250,000 bond, since she was arrested on a charge of child endangerment/abandoning.
According to court documents, Mathews "failed to comply with the terms of the employment agreement and has been unable to make further financial arrangements."