[QODLink]
Americas

US re-indicts Indian diplomat Khobragade

Former deputy consul general, now back in India, re-accused of visa fraud and exploitation of her maid in ongoing saga.

Last updated: 15 Mar 2014 09:30
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Khobragade is accused of exploiting her Indian-born housekeeper, making her work for just over $1 an hour [AP]

An Indian diplomat has been re-indicted on US visa fraud charges that touched off an international stir after she was arrested and strip-searched in New York last year.

The new indictment, essentially reinstating the charges against Devyani Khobragade, was filed on Friday.

On Wednesday, a judge dismissed the previous indictment for diplomatic immunity reasons but left a door open to federal prosecutors to revive the case.

Khobragade is back in India and it is unclear when, if ever, the former deputy consul general might appear in court in New York again.

India's government on Saturday said it was "disappointed" by new charges.

The government's spokesman, Syed Akbaruddin, told the AFP news agency that India was "disappointed... the United States Department of Justice chose to obtain a second indictment" against Khobragade.

Prosecutors say she fraudulently obtained a work visa for her housekeeper and lied to the government about what she paid her.

They accused her of forcing Sangeeta Richard to work 100-hour weeks at a salary of just over $1 an hour, far below the legal minimum US wage of $7.25 an hour.

Her lawyer said she is immune from the prosecution.

A State Department spokeswoman said earlier this week that the agency's position was that Khobragade had full immunity from prosecution only for a single day in January and no longer enjoyed protection from prosecution once she left the country.

The dispute over Khobragade's arrest set off reprisals against US diplomats and the removal of some security barriers near the US embassy in India.

It also led to the postponement of trips by US officials and business executives to India, imperiling US efforts to strengthen ties between the two countries.

278

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.