Saturday, September 23, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Saturday, September 23, 2023 | Back issues
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Indian Diplomat Vamooses

MANHATTAN (CN) - The Indian diplomat charged with visa fraud and abusing her maid has lef the country with diplomatic immunity - effectively expelled from the United States, in an attempt to soothe Indian nerves in a case that has roiled international relations.

Devyani Khobragade was charged Thursday with visa fraud and making false statements to U.S. officials. In a diplomatic dance after the indictment on Thursday, the United States granted her diplomatic immunity, then asked India to withdraw it, then said, in effect, that she could go home - and please do go home.

U.S. officials said Khobragade's arrest and strip search were standard procedure for a person facing such charges, which are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The Indian government and its citizens saw it differently. Since her arrest, the Indian government has taken a number of retaliatory steps against U.S. diplomats - some major, some petty. It withdrew some police protections from the U.S. Embassy, restricted or canceled deliveries of alcohol to the U.S. mission there, restricted visitors to the U.S. mission, and allegedly began investigating children and parents of U.S. officials for their own visa status and authorization to attend Indian schools.

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