Washington Although the Indian perspective on events leading to the December 12 arrest of Devyani Khobragade, Deputy Consul General in New York, asserts that multiple attempts to communicate details of the case against her domestic employee in the Delhi High Court were met with silence, the US State Department on Thursday cast doubt upon that suggestion.
In a briefing, spokesperson Marie Harf also appeared to water down suggestions in Indian media that the State Department may consider dropping the charges against Ms. Khobragade and was trying to put “distance” between itself and the strong remarks of Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara, who on Wednesday evening focused the spotlight on the allegations of visa fraud.
In reference to reports that US Under Secretary Wendy Sherman in a conversation with Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh had sought to downplay the link between the State Department and the actions of Mr. Bharara’s office, Ms. Harf said, “The gentleman [Mr. Bharara]… also said some very positive things about working with the State Department and what we had done. So we obviously take law enforcement matters very seriously.”
Leaving no doubt on the Department’s position on the felony charges brought against Ms. Khobragade, Ms. Harf added, “We’re not in any way walking back from those … charges,” especially as the Department “very clearly… said every year in diplomatic notes to every country that has diplomats here throughout the world that there are obligations they have for their staffs when they bring them to the US.”
In this context the US also appeared to be of the view that the security of the family of Ms. Richard may have been jeopardised at certain points in time, prompting their “evacuation” from India to the US… see more