In a dramatic turn of events January 9, Devyani Khobragade, former deputy consul general at India’s New York consulate, was indicted by a grand jury in a federal court in Manhattan on two counts of visa fraud and making false statements in violation of United
She left the country the same evening in accordance with
the request of the State Department, which granted her
diplomatic immunity January 8 in the wake of New Delhi
transferring her from the consulate to the Permanent
Mission of India to the United Nations.
Dr Khobragade had been arrested December 12 on the
charge that she had lied in the visa application she had filed
for her caretaker Sangeeta Richard to the State Department.
She was strip-searched on arrest, before being released on
a $250,000 personal recognizance bond co-signed by three
people the same day, but had to surrender all travel documents.
It led to an unprecedented diplomatic stand-off with the
Indian government withdrawing privileges extended to
American diplomats in India.
The diplomat confirmed that she has been asked to leave
the country. Her two children remained in the US since her
husband and his family live here.
“Please thank the Indian Americans that believed me and
supported me. I will come out of this vindicated,” she said in
a text message to India Abroad. “The case has been dis-
missed. The charges against me are completely false and
baseless. I look forward to demonstrating that to all of you.”
The prosecutors, however, said that the charges against her would remain pending until such time as she could be brought to court to face the charges, ‘either through
a waiver of immunity or the defendant’s return to the United
States in a non-immune status.’
Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern
District of New York told United States District Judge Shira
A Scheindlin in a letter, ‘ There will not need to be an arraign-
ment on the indictment scheduled at this time. We under-
stand that the defendant was very recently accorded diplo-
matic immunity status and that she departed the United
I would like to tell other
domestic workers who
are suffering as I did —
you have rights and do
not let anyone exploit
When I decided to come
to the US my hope was
to work for a few years to
support my family and
then return to India. I
never thought that things would get so bad here
that I would work so much that I would not have
time to sleep, eat or to or have time to myself.
Because of this I requested that I return to India,
but that request was denied.
I hope that this case sends a clear message to
diplomats and consular officials that the US will
not tolerate the exploitation of workers and
marks the beginning of an increase in the prosecution of these cases.
I would like to express my appreciation to every-
one who has supported me though this process.
Devyani Khobragade’s domestic help
Devyani Khobragade returns to India after indictment.
Suman Guha Mozumder and George Joseph report