U.S. prosecutors say Indian diplomat has not left country

NEW YORK Thu Jan 9, 2014 5:24pm EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The diplomat at center of a controversy that has inflamed relations between India and Washington has not left the United States, contrary to an earlier U.S. assertion, a spokesman for the prosecution said Thursday.

U.S. prosecutors had earlier Thursday said in a letter accompanying an indictment issued in the case that Devyani Khobragade was "very recently accorded diplomatic immunity status" and had left the country.

But shortly afterwards, the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the prosecutor in the case, said that while Khobragade was to have left the United States on Thursday afternoon, she had not done so.

"Subsequent to the filing of the letter, Ms. Khobragade's lawyer advised that she has not, in fact, departed the U.S.," a spokesman for Bharara said in a statement.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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