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India Welcomes Dismissal of US Charges Against Diplomat

  • VOA News

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade (C) and her father Uttam Khobragade (L) are seen after their meeting with India's Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid (not pictured) in New Delhi January 11, 2014.
India is welcoming the dismissal of U.S. charges against an Indian diplomat whose New York arrest and strip search last year triggered a dispute between the two countries.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin says the dismissal of the case against Devyani Khobragade is "good as far as it goes." He said Indian government lawyers will now carefully examine it.

A U.S. federal judge ruled Wednesday that 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, Sangeeta Richard, to work for far less than the U.S. minimum wage and then lying about it on the housekeeper's visa application.

Even though those charges have been dismissed, U.S. federal prosecutors could still bring a new indictment against her.

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

The arrest sparked outrage in India, particularly because of the strip search, and led the Indian government to take reprisal measures against U.S. diplomats in New Delhi.

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.