Indian Diplomat Leaves US Just Before Being Indicted
Devyani Khobragade charged with visa fraud, but diplomatic immunity saves her
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 9, 2014 3:43 PM CST
Devyani Khobragade.   (AP Photo/Mohammed Jaffer, File)

(Newser) – An Indian diplomat accused of lying about how much she paid her housekeeper was indicted today on two criminal charges, though prosecutors told a judge that she had been granted diplomatic immunity and left the country earlier in the day. Devyani Khobragade was charged by a federal grand jury in Manhattan 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 City housekeeper.

Khobragade, 39, India's deputy consul general in New York, has maintained her innocence to accusations that she claimed to pay her Indian maid $4,500 per month but actually gave her far less than the US minimum wage. Her arrest last month sparked outrage in India after revelations that she was strip-searched and thrown in a cell with other criminal defendants before being released on $250,000 bail. In a letter to the judge, prosecutors said there was no need for an arraignment because Khobragade had "very recently" been given diplomatic immunity status and left the United States. The letter said the charges will remain pending until she can be brought to court to face them, either through a waiver of immunity or her return to the US without immunity status.
 

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