Diplomat from India indicted, to leave U.S.
NEW YORK — An Indian diplomat accused of lying about how much she paid her housekeeper was asked to leave the United States on Thursday after she was indicted on two criminal charges and Indian authorities refused to waive immunity, authorities said.
Devyani Khobragade, 39, was charged by a federal grand jury in New York City with visa fraud and making false statements in a case that has triggered an outcry in India. She's accused of fraudulently obtaining a work visa for her New York housekeeper.
Khobragade was expected to leave the country Thursday night, a U.S. government official in Washington said.
The official, who was not authorized to speak about the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. accepted India's request to accredit her to the United Nations, which confers broader immunity than what she enjoyed as a consular official. It would be almost unprecedented for the U.S. to deny such a request unless the diplomat was a national security risk.
The United States asked the government of India to waive the immunity, but the Indians refused, the official said.
The United States then “requested her departure” from the country, the official said.
Authorities say Khobragade claimed to pay her Indian maid $4,500 per month but actually gave her far less than the U.S. minimum wage. The indictment said Khobragade had made multiple false representations to U.S. authorities, or caused them to be made, to obtain a visa for a personal domestic worker. She planned to bring the worker to the United States in September 2012 when she worked at the Consulate General of India in New York, according to the indictment.
The maid, Sangeeta Richard, said in her first public statements Thursday that she had decided to come to America to work for a few years to support her family, then return to India.
“I never thought that things would get so bad here, that I would work so much that I did not have time to sleep or eat or have time to myself,” she said in a statement released by the anti-trafficking group Safe Horizon.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Orleans slow to heal 10 years after Hurricane Katrina
- Thousands in New Orleans became targets of unscrupulous contractors
- George W. Bush visits disaster zone, 10 years after Katrina
- Illinois Lottery winners get IOU instead of checks
- Surviving panda cub is male
- Virginia reporter, cameraman killed on air; gunman also dies
- Northwest fire crews hope for break in weather
- Court lifts injunction against NSA call records program
- Prep school graduate Labrie convicted of sex charges
- Kentucky county clerk’s protest of same-sex marriage near end
- Supreme Court has protest-free zone, judges panel rules