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Indian Diplomat Leaves US Amid Dispute

An Indian diplomat whose arrest and strip search in New York caused a diplomatic dispute between India and the U.S. was heading home Friday after being indicted on visa fraud Thursday.

Devyani Khobragade flew out of the U.S. Thursday night after India turned down a U.S. request to waive her diplomatic immunity.

Khobragade had been serving as India's deputy counsel general in New York. However, on Thursday - following standard procedure - U.S. officials accepted India's request to change her accreditation to the United Nations as a diplomat, giving her full immunity.

Once she had full immunity, the State Department asked India to waive it so that Khobragade could face charges. India denied the request.

A State Department spokesman said the charges against her will not be dropped upon leaving the country, and she will face them if she returns.

U.S. authorities arrested Khobragade last month on charges that she paid her housekeeper much less than minimum wage and lied about it on the maid's visa application.



Her father, Uttam Khobragade, thanked the India government Friday for its support.



"My daughter is going to come back to her country and unite with the family; this would not have been possible without the support entire nation, entire media and the government gave to us."



Devyani Khobragade complained she was held in a space with common criminals and drug addicts when she was arrested, despite her repeated assertions that she had diplomatic immunity.

Indian officials have lifted some diplomatic immunity for U.S. officials in New Delhi and have ordered the U.S. embassy to restrict service at an embassy club for diplomats.

Khobragade seems to have garnered more sympathy in India than her employee, who allegedly was paid only a third of the amount Khobragade had reported to U.S. authorities.

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