Devyani Khobragade seeks dismissal of visa fraud case, arrest warrants in New York court

Jan 15 2014, 14:40 IST
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Devyani Khobragade's lawyer is seeking a court order to dismiss the indictment and proceeding against the Indian diplomat. (PTI) Devyani Khobragade's lawyer is seeking a court order to dismiss the indictment and proceeding against the Indian diplomat. (PTI)
SummaryDevyani Khobragade argues she was 'cloaked' in diplomatic immunity...

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade has asked a court here to dismiss the indictment against her and terminate any "open" arrest warrants in visa fraud case, arguing that she was "cloaked" in diplomatic immunity and cannot face criminal prosecution in the US.

Devyani Khobragade's lawyer Daniel Arshack yesterday filed a memorandum of law on her behalf in the Southern District of New York in support of the motion to dismiss the case and terminate any future legal action against her "on grounds of diplomatic immunity."

"Dr Devyani Khobragade now formally moves this Court to dismiss the instant proceeding, to rescind the conditions of her release, and eliminate her bail conditions as she is immune from criminal prosecution in the United States as she was obligated, by the United States government, to leave the jurisdiction," Arshack said in the filing.

Arshack is seeking a court order to dismiss the indictment and proceeding against the Indian diplomat, terminate any and all conditions of bail previously imposed by the court during Devyani Khobragade's initial appearance on December 12 and exonerate any bail or bond previously posted on her behalf.

The motion is also seeking termination of any "open arrest warrants" against Devyani Khobragade or "requests for extradition" with regard to the case as "they too are nullities since the instant proceeding is subject to dismissal."

"I make this affirmation in support of Devyani Khobragade's motion to dismiss the instant proceeding as a nullity because both at the time of her arrest, as well as at the time of her subsequent indictment, defendant was cloaked in diplomatic immunity and has absolute immunity from any criminal prosecution in the United States," he said.

Arshack is seeking a ruling on the order by Judge Shira Scheindlin on or before January 31.

The office of Manhattan's top federal prosecutor Preet Bharara, who brought the criminal charges and indictment against Khobragade said they have "no comment at this time" on the motion filed by Arshack.

The filing states that because of Devyani Khobragade's diplomatic status, the court did not have personal jurisdiction over her at the time of her arrest and indictment, but it still has subject matter jurisdiction to rule over her motion to dismiss the case.

Arshack argued that conditions of Khobragade's post-arrest release and the USD 250,000 bond must be rescinded as those restrictions on 39-year-old diplomat's liberty do not apply since she is "absolutely immune from criminal prosecution" being a diplomat.

He also sought "prompt return" of Devyani Khobragade's passport.

The motion informed the court

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