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US Judge Dismisses Indictment Against Indian Diplomat in Visa Case

  • VOA News

Devyani Khobragade, who served as India’s deputy consul general in New York, leaves Maharastra state house in New Delhi, India, Jan. 11, 2014.

Devyani Khobragade, who served as India’s deputy consul general in New York, leaves Maharastra state house in New Delhi, India, Jan. 11, 2014.

A U.S. federal judge has dismissed an indictment against an Indian diplomat whose arrest and strip search late last year in New York frayed diplomatic ties between New Delhi and Washington.

The judge ruled Wednesday that Devyani Khobragade had diplomatic immunity when she was indicted in January on charges of fraudulently obtaining a work visa for her housekeeper and lying about the maid's pay.

Prosecutors 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.

India responded by lifting some diplomatic immunity for U.S. officials in New Delhi, and ordered the U.S. embassy to restrict service at an embassy club for diplomats.

Khobragade was India's deputy counsel-general in New York at the time of her arrest in December.

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

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