US says Devyani Khobragade no longer enjoys immunity, may face arrest warrant

Eurasia News

WASHINGTON: The Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who returned to New Delhi after being indicted in New York on charges of visa fraud and making false statements but allowed to leave because of diplomatic immunity, no longer enjoys immunity and an arrest warrant might be issued against her, the United States has said.

In a statement in Washington, the US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that “Prior to her (Khobragade) departure, it was conveyed to her and to the government of India that she is not permitted to return to the United States except to submit to the jurisdiction of the court.

“Her name would be placed in visa and immigration lookout systems to prevent the routine issuance of any future visa and upon her departure a warrant may be issued for her arrest.”

The spokesperson said that Devyani Khobragade’s departure from the United States does not change the charges against her. “The charges remain in place. There are processes that are standard processes in each of these cases, which we were abiding by throughout this process,” Psaki said.

The 39-year-old Devyani Khobragade left for India on Friday from the US after a deal in which she was indicted for visa fraud and lying about how much she paid her housekeeper, but allowed to leave because of diplomatic immunity.

Khobragade, who was deputy consul-general in New York‚ was arrested on December 12 and charged with one count of visa fraud and another of making false statements about how much she paid her housekeeper.

Her arrest and strip-search spurred outrage in India as New Delhi took a series of retaliatory measures against the United States including removing security barriers outside the US embassy in the capital and asking Washington to withdraw a diplomat from its embassy.