On Sunday, it will be a month since Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade was arrested in New York on charges of visa fraud. Her father Uttam Khobragade, though happy with Devyani’s safe return, is still an angry man who is determined to get justice for his daughter and wants the Indian government to take tough reciprocal steps after Devyani was indicted by a court in the US and Washington asked her to leave.
“The US took action against Devyani even when it had no jurisdiction as the ‘fabricated’ case involved Indian citizens in a territory that is deemed India. So, why can’t India take tough steps against the visa official who while sending Sangeeta Richard’s family waived off tax using his diplomatic card? By that action, he deprived India of tax — by act of impersonation — and thus he is liable to be prosecuted under Indian law,” Uttam told dna in an interaction at Maharashtra Sadan in the national capital where he is staying with his daughter Devyani who reached India on Friday.
Devyani’s father also said that the first step of getting her back has been achieved and the focus is now on getting the charges against her dropped. “There is a precedent in the history when the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi had achieved this. It can be done again,” he added.
Uttam also said that as of now Devyani’s husband and children are in the US but may return after some time. “Devyani’s daughter is going to school and we don’t want to dislocate her in middle. But if things continue, they all will come back,” he explained.
Khobragade has been advised by the ministry of external affairs not to speak on the issue. Her lawyer on Friday also moved the New York court and urged it to drop the case.
India looks to mend strained ties with US
The decision to expel the US diplomat who facilitated evacuation of Devyani’s maid’s family shows that India is not backing out in the case.
The US on Friday said it “deeply regrets” India’s expulsion of the US official but now was “looking to move past this challenging time”.