U.N. receives request to accredit strip-searched Indian envoy

UNITED NATIONS Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:09pm EST

Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general, attends the India Studies Stony Brook University fundraiser event in Long Island, New York, December 8, 2013. REUTERS/Mohammed Jaffer/SnapsIndia

Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general, attends the India Studies Stony Brook University fundraiser event in Long Island, New York, December 8, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mohammed Jaffer/SnapsIndia

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations said on Friday it has received an official request from India to accredit an Indian diplomat based in New York, who was subjected to a strip search and arrested by U.S. authorities over alleged visa fraud.

"The United Nations has received notification to register Ms Devyani Khobragade as a member of the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations," said U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq. "The United Nations is processing this request as per its standard procedures."

Khobragade's arrest earlier this month has enraged India, which has demanded that all charges be dropped against the diplomat, India's deputy consul general in New York.

New Delhi also demanded the arrest of Khobragade's housekeeper, also an Indian citizen, who had accused her employer of fraud and underpayment of wages - a serious crime in the United States.

The U.S. mission at the United Nations had no immediate response when asked whether the State Department had approved Khobragade's transfer from the Indian consulate to its U.N. mission.

It was not immediately clear if there would be any impact on Khobragade's diplomatic immunity due to the transfer of her accreditation from the Indian consulate in New York, which handles bilateral issues, to the U.N. mission, which oversees India's activities at U.N. headquarters.

In an unusual move, the United States has flown the family of the housekeeper, Sangeeta Richard, out of India. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has said attempts were made in India to "silence" Richard and compel her to return home.

The State Department has attempted to calm the furor in India, but U.S. prosecutors have shown no signs they would drop their case against Khobragade. Bharara defended the investigation and treatment of Khobragade in a strongly worded statement on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; editing by Christopher Wilson)

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Comments (3)
This would be a good time to demonstrate that NO ONE is above the law in this country. I hope all the court proceddings and the entire judicial process in this case is completely transparent and the public kept informed. All the communications and diplomatic pressure coming from India should be made public in order to keep a balance of perspective regarding India’s attempt to derail the criminal charges, hide and distort the facts surrounding this case. It is a display of total disrespect for the United States and our laws.

Dec 20, 2013 2:38pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Robot wrote:
The lady maid was spying for CIA her father in law works in US embassy in New Delhi. RAW figured it out, and the news got leaked to CIA by some means and they took Maid in control and get evacuated her family so RAW never figures out what she had leaked to her American Controller. This case has absolutely nothing to do with Labor minimum wage, this is to make sure Indian Government never gets back the agent.

Mr DA is going to take it on his face when this faces a judge (if it did) Guys go to Costo get a popcorn family pack and am expecting a movie next year on this conspiracy theory.

Dec 20, 2013 3:12pm EST  --  Report as abuse
I do not believe US is so worried about an Indian maid not getting $9 an hour that they will fly in her entire family and throw the diplomat in prison.
I see hundreds of undocumented workers trying to make a living every day here in California and no individual/organization or US Govt. seems to be bothered about them. Hey, Safe Horizons, why don’t you come and see for yourself. These unfortunate people wait everyday outside Home Depots and streets.
The story of Poor exploited maid doesn’t add up. I am sure one day we will find out just like we are finding out the great policy decisions of our govt. be it WMD or NSA leaks.

Dec 20, 2013 3:19pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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