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Indian diplomat to face visa fraud prosecutions in US

January 1, 2014 at 1:04 am | News Desk


NEW YORK: The US government has taken firm decision for not dropping the visa fraud charges against senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade despite severe contentions made by Indian government.

The US government has rejected India’s contention that it misconstrued salary details in the visa application of senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade’s domestic help, asserting there is “no goof up” and that the case against her is on a firm footing.

Making it clear that visa fraud charges against Khobragade will not be dropped, US sources here said, “The strength of the fraud in the case is very strong.”

“The case will be there against her, it will not be dropped. The charges will remain,” the sources said, adding, if the 39-year-old diplomat gets full diplomatic immunity, she can travel outside the country.

However, if she were to return to the US later on a visit and if she then does not have the immunity, she could face arrest on the charges against her and be prosecuted.

On the allegation made by Khobargade’s lawyer that the $4,500 amount written in the visa application was Khobragade’s salary and not the amount promised to be paid to the domestic worker Sangeeta Richard, sources have said that Khobragade did not understand the form correctly.

“No federal agent goofed up in reading the form,” sources said, rubbishing allegations made by Khobragade’s lawyer Dan Arshack.

“It is clear that the salary details required on the visa application form are that of the employee and not the employer,” they said.

There is no question of apology to India over the arrest of Khobragade, the then deputy consul general of India, in New York on December 12 which has led to strong protests by the Indian government and widespread indignation in India.

Khobragade was later released on a $250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.

The Indian government has demanded withdrawal of the case and an apology for the treatment meted out to the diplomat.

Sources also added that Khobragade’s domestic help Sangeeta’s family was evacuated to the US because the justice department was compelled to make sure that victims, witnesses and their families were safe and secure while cases were pending.

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