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India Disappointed at US Re-Indictment of Diplomat

  • VOA News

FILE - Devyani Khobragade, December 8, 2013.

FILE - Devyani Khobragade, December 8, 2013.

India says it is "disappointed" with the decision by U.S. federal authorities to re-indict an Indian diplomat on new visa fraud charges.

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin called the re-indictment of Devyani Khobragade on Friday an "unnecessary step." He said the case against her has no merit.

A few days ago, a U.S. federal judge dropped the charges against Khobragade of fraudulently obtaining a work visa for her housekeeper and lying about the maid's pay. The judge ruled Khobragade had diplomatic immunity when she was first indicted in January.

India welcomed the dismissal of the charges.

Khobragade was arrested and strip searched last year in New York, triggering a dispute between the U.S. and India. The arrest also sparked outrage in India, particularly because of the strip search, and led India's government to take reprisal measures against U.S. diplomats in New Delhi.

Khobragade was India's deputy counsel-general in New York at the time of her arrest in December. U.S. prosecutors had accused the diplomat of forcing her maid to work for far less than the U.S. minimum wage and then lying about it on the housekeeper's visa application.

Faced with criminal prosecution, Khobragade left the United States in January, after India rejected a U.S. request to waive her diplomatic immunity. She is now reported to be working for India's Foreign Affairs Ministry in New Delhi.

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