US to proceed with prosecution of India envoy

US says it will not drop charges against Devyani Khobragade, whose brief arrest kicked up row between two countries.

    US to proceed with prosecution of India envoy
    The Indian government has stripped several privileges enjoyed by the US diplomats in India in retaliation [EPA]

    The United States has said it will not drop the charges against Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, whose brief arrest kicked up a row between New Delhi and Washington.

    News agencies quoting US sources on Tuesday said that evidence was being collected against the diplomat before the January 13 deadline for indictment in a US court.

    US officials denied that there was any nefarious motive behind Khobragade’s arrest and that the law had been followed, the reports said.

    Since the arrest and subsequent release on December 12, Khobragade has been transferred to the United Nations compound in New York where she now works with the Indian permanent mission there.

    However, her altered status needs to be cleared by the state department for her to get full diplomatic immunity. The US cannot legally act against her as long as she is confined to the UN compound.

    If she does get full diplomatic immunity, her case would be kept under suspension but there will be no move to get it dismissed, the reports said, quoting US officials.

    The court however, during the hearing could decide to do anything, including dismissal.

    Under full immunity, Khobragade could even leave the country but the case would get reactivated if she ever returns to the US. Her husband reportedly works in the US.

    Khobragade’s arrest on December 12 for alleged visa fraud and underpaying her nanny Sangeetha Richard caused a major row between the US and the Indian government.

    More than the arrest, the rough treatment meted out to Khobragade including handcuffing, strip-search and being lodged with drug addicts angered New Delhi.

    In retaliation, the Indian government stripped several privileges enjoyed by the US diplomats in India and brought them on par with that enjoyed by Indian diplomats in the US.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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