Double Jeopardy: Indian Diplomat Devyani Khobragade Re-Indicted On Visa Fraud Charges

 @Gooch700
on March 14 2014 4:11 PM
Devyani Khobragade
Devyani Khobragade Reuters

Devyani Khobragade, the Indian diplomat whose arrest and strip search late last year on charges of visa fraud triggered diplomatic tension between New Delhi and Washington, was re-indicted on Friday by a New York grand jury on the same charges.

The second indictment occurred just two days after U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin dismissed a prior indictment, citing her diplomatic immunity. Khobragade also faced charges of underpaying her nanny and housekeeper, and for making false statements. In particular, prosecutors claimed that Khobragade paid her nanny Sangeeta Richard only $1.00 per hour for a 100-hour workweek (which is only a fraction of the $7.25 per hour U.S. minimum wage).

Khobragade, formerly India’s deputy consul-general in New York, had been arrested in December 2013, and her diplomatic crisis was thought to have ended in mid-January when she was expelled from the U.S.

Reuters reported that Khobragade's lawyer, Daniel Arshack, did not immediately provide a comment on the new indictment.

However, when Scheindlin dismissed the case against Khobragade on Wednesday, a spokesman for Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, said that the ruling did not prohibit prosecutors from filing a new indictment.

Still, given that Khobragade is now in India, it is unclear what the new indictment will actually mean for the diplomat.

NBC News reported that Khobragade’s immunity expired when she left the U.S. and could be subject to criminal prosecution if she ever again set foot on American soil.

 

 

 

 

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