Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade row: US' Preet Bharara triumphs

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Unusually, Preet Bharara had issued a lengthy statement in which he defended the arrest and charges against Devyani Khobragade. PTI Unusually, Preet Bharara had issued a lengthy statement in which he defended the arrest and charges against Devyani Khobragade. PTI
SummaryAfter facing flak over Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade's strip-search and arrest, Preet Bharara vindicated.

The US has rejected India's contention that it has misconstrued salary details in the visa application of senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, IFS, domestic help, asserting there is "no goof up" and that the case against her is on a firm footing, which translates into yet another triumph for Indian-origin New York Attorney Preet Bharara who has faced flak from India for violating diplomatic immunity – he was also central to the jailing of high-flying India-born former Goldman Sachs director as well as MD of McKinsey & Company, Rajat Gupta on insider trading charges.

The fact that Devyani Khobragade's husband is an US citizen of Indian descent has complicated the issue even further, limiting her options considerably

Given the furore and diplomatic row the case has caused in India, Preet Bharara made an unusual move to issue a lengthy statement in which he defended the arrest and charges against Devyani Khobragade.

Making it clear that visa fraud charges against Devyani Khobragade will not be dropped, US sources here said, "The strength of the fraud in the case is very strong."

"The case will be there against her, it will not be dropped. The charges will remain," the sources said, adding that if the 39-year-old diplomat gets full diplomatic immunity, she can travel outside the country.

However, if she were to return to the US later on a visit and if she then does not have the immunity, she could face arrest on the charges against her and be prosecuted.

On the allegation made by Devyani Khobragade's lawyer that the USD 4,500 amount written in the visa application was Devyani Khobragade's salary and not the amount promised to be paid to the domestic worker Sangeeta Richard, sources have said that Khobragade did not understand the form correctly.

"No federal agent goofed up in reading the form," sources said, rubbishing allegations made by Devyani Khobragade's lawyer Dan Arshack.

"It is clear that the salary details required on the visa application form are that of the employee and not the employer," they said.

There is no question of apology to India over the arrest of Khobragade, the then Deputy Consul General of India, in New York on December 12 which has led to strong protests by the Indian government and widespread indignation in India.

Khobragade was later released on a USD 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.

The Indian government has demanded withdrawal of the case and an apology

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