New Delhi: A US court has dismissed indictment of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade for charges of visa fraud and making false statements to the US government.
“… Khobragade’s motion to dismiss the Indictment on the ground of diplomatic immunity is granted. Khobragade’s conditions of bail are terminated, and her bond is exonerated,” according to the judgement issued on Wednesday.
The judge ruled that it is “undisputed” that Khobragade acquired full diplomatic immunity on Jan 8 and did not lose that immunity until her departure for India on Jan 9.
“On January 9, immediately following the return of the Indictment, Khobragade appeared before the Court through counsel and moved to dismiss the case. Because the Court lacked jurisdiction over her at that time, and at the time the Indictment was returned, the motion must be granted,” said the order posted on the US court’s website. Khobragade served as a consular officer in the US from Oct 26, 2012 to Jan 8, 2014, a position that cloaked her with consular immunity as per the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the 14-page order by US District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin said.
On Dec 12, Khobragade was arrested on visa fraud charges and for making false statements regarding the visa application of her domestic help Sangeeta Richard. She was strip-searched, triggering a diplomatic row between the two countries with India retaliating by downgrading privileges of certain categories of US diplomats among other steps.