- After drubbing by Bharatiya Janata Party, AAP, Mani Shankar Aiyar sees Indian National Congress losing polls in 2014Indian National Congress extends olive branch to Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party to form Delhi govt?Republicans voice support for budget pactIFS officer paid her help a third of New York wage, MEA summons Powell over her arrest
prosecution" as she "enjoys immunity as a Consulate officer". Her lawyer will be filing claims of diplomatic immunity in the case and relevant papers in court.
Two officials from the Consulate were also present during the hearing. As she walked out of the courtroom after the hearing, Khobragade smiled and hugged a couple of her friends who had come for the hearing.
She said that she cannot talk to the press since the matter is "subjudice" but said that she is doing fine. She was flanked by her attorney Daniel Arshack and her colleagues from the Consulate who escorted her outside the court.
The embassy said it had been informed that Khobragade was taken into custody by law enforcement authorities.
It added that the action was apparently taken against Khobragade on the basis of allegations raised by the officer's former India-based domestic assistant, Sangeeta Richard, who has been absconding since June this year.
In this context the Delhi High Court had issued an-interim injunction in September to restrain Richard from instituting any actions or proceedings against Khobragade outside India on the terms or conditions of her employment.
"The US Government had subsequently been requested to locate Richard and facilitate the service of an arrest warrant, issued by the Metropolitan Magistrate of the South District Court in New Delhi under Sections 387, 420 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code," the embassy said, adding that the existing court case in India against Richard has already been brought to the attention of the US government.
Announcing the charges against Khobragade, Bharara said, "Foreign nationals brought to the United States to serve as domestic workers are entitled to the same protections against exploitation as those afforded to United States citizens.
"The false statements and fraud alleged to have occurred here were designed to circumvent those protections so that a visa would issue for a domestic worker who was promised far less than a fair wage. This type of fraud on the United States and exploitation of an individual will not be tolerated."
Eminent Indian-American lawyer Ravi Batra said Bharara has "acted, as always, to defend the United States, while acknowledging that Constitutional presumptive innocence belongs to the accused."
"Absent the creation of a new legal category for diplomatic foreign domestic workers, which exempts them from US labor laws, including, wages and hours, American laws must be followed to avoid both criminal and civil liability as well as diaspora and foreign-sovereign embarrassment.