The Indian government reacted strongly to the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York on charges of visa fraud, and summoned U.S. ambassador to India, Nancy Powell, to express “shock” over “absolutely unacceptable” treatment meted out to the official.
India’s deputy consul general in New York, Devyani Khobragade, 39, was arrested on Thursday in New York when she was dropping her daughter off at school, and was handcuffed in public. She was released on Thursday evening on a $250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court, the Indian embassy in Washington said in a statement.
The arrest was made over a complaint raised by Khobragade’s former Indian domestic, Sangeeta Richard, at her New York home. However, the Delhi High Court had issued an interim injunction in September restraining Richard “from instituting any actions or proceedings against Dr. Khobragade outside India on the terms or conditions of her employment,” the embassy said.
“We are shocked and appalled at the manner in which she has been humiliated by the U.S. authorities,” India’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Syed Akbaruddin, said in New Delhi, according to a Press Trust of India report. “We have taken it up forcefully with the U.S. government through our embassy in Washington. We are also reiterating, in no uncertain terms, to U.S. embassy here that this kind of treatment to one of our diplomats is absolutely unacceptable.”
Law enforcement authorities in New York said Khobragade is accused of helping to file a fraudulent document and of making false statements to the U.S. State Department to procure a visa “for an Indian national employed as a babysitter and housekeeper at her home in New York.”
India’s foreign secretary Sujatha Singh told Powell that Khobragade was entitled to courtesies mandated under international rules in dealing with foreign representatives, PTI reported.
Akbaruddin said the Indian foreign ministry “will take issue of legal nature separately but there is no justification or acceptability of what has happened to the young diplomat who had gone to drop her children in a school.”