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Indian diplomat granted immunity, to leave NY
January 9, 2014, 9:53 pm

Indians protesting against the arrest and treatment of Devyani Khobragade [AP]

Indians protesting against the arrest and treatment of Devyani Khobragade [AP]

Ranking diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who in December was accused of  fraudulently obtaining a work visa for her New York City housekeeper, will leave the US on Thursday under full immunity.

Earlier in the day, US Federal prosecutors announced that she had been charged with visa fraud and making false statements.

According to the Associated Press, prosecutors delivered a letter to the judge outlining her diplomatic immunity and stating that the charges against her will remain pending until she returns to a US court.

Khobragade’s arrest on December 12 sparked a diplomatic row between New Delhi and Washington.

Indian media said that the diplomat was handcuffed in public by law enforcement authorities in New York Thursday while she was dropping her daughter off at school, and later strip searched, confined to a cell with drug addicts and also subjected to DNA swabbing.

A number of Indian officials said her treatment was barbaric.

India retaliated by taking unprecedented steps to protest against the manner of the Indian diplomat’s arrest, prompting US Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene on December 18.

Kerry expressed regret over the handling of the arrest of Khobragade in a phone call to India’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon.

Reaching out to India, Kerry said that, “foreign diplomats serving in the United States are accorded respect and dignity, just as we expect our own diplomats should receive overseas”.

In his conversation with Menon, Kerry also urged that, “we not allow this unfortunate public issue to hurt our close and vital relationship with India”.

Source: Agencies