US Firm on Prosecuting Devyani Khobragade

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By Johnlee Varghese | December 20, 2013 9:17 PM EST

With the US government standing its ground on prosecuting Indian Consul Devyani Khobragade, India's hopes to 'save' the diplomat from a probable trial has been dashed. The Indian Diplomat following the 'visa fraud and nanny ill-treatment case' was transferred to the permanent mission at United Nations, which entitles her to full diplomatic immunity.

In a counter move, the US State department, however, has made it clear that Devyani Khobragade's diplomatic immunity would be counted from the day she was confirmed to the new job at the United Nations

In the US Department of State, daily press brief Marie Harf, Deputy Spokesperson made it amply clear that the 1999-batch IFS officer Devyani will have to face the charges levelled against her. "There's a process, right, in place right now through the judicial system, a legal process that we also would like to see play out," Harf said. "...nobody is walking away from the charges, right? But there's a process - a judicial and a legal process."

Khobragade was arrested on 12 December in New York, while she was dropping her daughter to school. Her arrest and subsequent revelation that she was strip searched in jail raised much furor in conservative India. She was later released on a $250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.

The US Department of Justice based on the allegations of Sangeeta Richard charged the Indian diplomat with underpaying an Indian household worker and lying about her wages to obtain a U.S. visa for the woman. Khorbagode faces a maximum of 15 years in jail if convicted of both counts.

Adding to India's embarrassment, US Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office is directly dealing with the case not only justified the arrest of Khobragade, but also directly attacked the concerns of the Indian government that has in an utter show of its 'class discrimination' remained silent about the well being of the Indian maid.

In a statement, the India-born Bharara said that maid Sangeeta Richard's family has been brought to the US, as legal process was started in India to "silence her and attempts were made to compel her to return to India."  Even Deputy Spokesperson, US Department of State, Marie Harf voiced the concern.

 " We are aware of the existence of allegations that the family was intimidated in India. Obviously, I can't confirm those. But in general, we take those kinds of allegations very seriously," she said.

While India has come out all in support of its diplomat, raising questions on her treatment, there is still little that is being said about how a 'poor Indian woman' was ill-treated by her powerful employer.

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