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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 July 2007, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
Race probe officer 'contaminated'
Detective Sergeant Gurpal Virdi
Mr Virdi claims he has been victimised over the hate mail case
A police chief has denied rejecting an Asian officer's bid to represent the force at a racism inquiry because he was contaminated, a tribunal has heard.

Stephen Roberts allegedly told Gurpal Virdi he could not work on the Morris Inquiry because of his past litigation involving the Metropolitan Police.

Det Sgt Virdi is suing the police after he was turned down for promotion.

He won damages and an apology from the force in 2002 after he was wrongly accused of sending racist mail.

'Offensive terminology'

Det Sgt Virdi had applied to work on the Met's Oakley Unit set up to prepare submissions for the Morris Inquiry in January 2004.

He claims Deputy Assistant Commander Roberts told him in a conversation that he was "contaminated" and would not get the position.

But Mr Roberts denied using such language at a hearing at Kingsway Employment Tribunal, central London.

"I'm absolutely sure I did not use the word 'contaminated'," he said.

He added that such terminology would have been offensive - more so given the context of the Morris Inquiry.

But he added Mr Virdi's past litigation was central to the inquiry and there would be a conflict of interest if he worked on Oakley.

Mr Virdi has brought the case against his employers after he was turned down for promotion to detective inspector.

He is accusing the force of racial discrimination and victimisation.

Mr Roberts was asked to conduct a review of Mr Virdi's failed application to ensure he had not been treated unfairly.

"We wanted to be sure he had been fairly dealt with given Mr Virdi was somebody who had a history with the organisation," he said.

Mr Virdi claims he still suffered "fall out" from the hate mail investigation and his career had been stalled as a result.

Police lawyers maintain Mr Virdi's application was considered "entirely on its merits".

They argue he did not suffer prejudice because of his race and personal history of bringing employment tribunal actions against the force.

The case continues.

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