Washington : Expelled Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, in effect, has been barred entry into the US, with the State Department saying her name would be placed in visa and immigration lookout systems to prevent routine issuance of visa.
Khobragade’s departure from the US, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said, does not change the charges against the 39-year-old diplomat. “Her name would be placed in visa and immigration lookout systems to prevent the routine issuance of any future visa and upon her departure a warrant may be issued for her arrest,” she said.
From the comments made by the State Department spokesperson, it is clear that Khobragade is being virtually treated as a ‘persona non grata’ and may be permitted to visit the US only to subject herself to the jurisdiction of court.
Khobragade, married to an Indian-origin American national, has two daughters, aged 6 and 3, who are now likely to shift to India.
The US has said that Khobragade, who has returned to New Delhi, no longer enjoys immunity and an arrest warrant might be issued against her. “Prior to her (Khobragade) departure, it was conveyed to her and to the government of India that she is not permitted to return to the United States except to submit to the jurisdiction of the court.”
On Thursday, Khobragade was indicted in a New York court on two counts of visa fraud and misrepresentation of facts. “The charges remain in place. There are processes that are standard processes in each of these cases, which we were abiding by throughout this process,” the State Department spokesperson insisted.
Meanwhile, Khobragade met Khurshid and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh here and told them about her ordeal. She also thanked them for their support. American diplomat Wayne May, Chief of the embassy’s diplomatic security contingent,
who was expelled by India in a tit-for-tat action, was readying to leave. He had been given about 48 hours on Friday by Indian government to do so.
Defending India’s stand on the issue, Khurshid told Karan Thapar for CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate that India will continue pressing for dropping of visa fraud charges against Khobragade and made it clear that there was no rethink on restoring extra privileges to American diplomats here. Asserting that Khobragade was not guilty of wrongdoings as charged by the US authorities, Khurshid said efforts would be on to “clean up things completely” to the satisfaction of both the sides.
Lalit K Jha