Indian Diplomat Indicted, Flies Home

Devyani Khobragade’s arrest last month set off a firestorm of criticism from Indian officials.

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Jordain Carney
Jan. 10, 2014, 3:16 a.m.

An In­di­an dip­lo­mat at the cen­ter of re­cent ten­sions between the United States and In­dia has flown back to her home coun­try, of­fi­cials said Fri­day.

Then-Deputy Con­sul Gen­er­al Devy­ani Kho­bragade was strip-searched in New York City after she was ar­res­ted on Dec. 12. when the U.S. Mar­shals Ser­vice picked her up over charges of visa fraud.

The in­cid­ent in­furi­ated In­di­an dip­lo­mats, and the coun­try has taken a hand­ful of re­tali­at­ory steps in­clud­ing re­mov­ing se­cur­ity bar­ri­ers from around the U.S. Em­bassy in New Del­hi and rolling back dip­lo­mat­ic priv­ileges for U.S. of­fi­cials in In­dia.

Kho­bragade — who was gran­ted the full priv­ileges and im­munit­ies of a dip­lo­mat earli­er this week — was in­dicted for visa fraud Thursday. The United States asked her to waive the im­munity, In­dia’s Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs said in a state­ment, but In­dia re­fused, in­stead trans­fer­ring her to a po­s­i­tion in New Del­hi.

Daniel Ar­shack, Kho­bragade’s law­yer, told The New York Times that Kho­bragade was glad the State De­part­ment “did the right thing” by giv­ing her dip­lo­mat­ic status.

Mar­ie Harf, a deputy spokes­per­son for the State De­part­ment, said last month that Kho­bragade didn’t have im­munity from the visa fraud charges. At that time, she was a deputy con­sul gen­er­al, a po­s­i­tion that gave her con­su­lar im­munity, which can be ap­plied only to of­fi­cial du­ties.

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