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Diplomat row: Devyani Khobragade detained with sex workers and drug addicts; put through cavity search

Tuesday, 17 December 2013 - 4:02pm IST Updated: Tuesday, 17 December 2013 - 9:54pm IST | Agency: DNA Web Team/Agencies
Khobragade, who was released on $250,000 bail after pleading not guilty to the charges and surrendering her passport, faces a maximum of 15 years in jail if convicted on both counts.

Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York, was arrested last week for allegedly underpaying her nanny and committing visa fraud to get her into the United States. Khobragade was handcuffed upon arrest and strip-searched before being released on bail, Indian media said.

Khobragade, who was released on $250,000 bail after pleading not guilty to the charges and surrendering her passport, faces a maximum of 15 years in jail if convicted on both counts.

U.S. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf on Monday said diplomatic security staff followed standard procedures during the arrest and then handed her over to the U.S. Marshals.

The arrest triggered fierce debate in India, with opinion divided over whether Khobragade was unfairly treated or whether she should be condemned for mistreating her domestic helper.

Live updates

* Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade put through cavity search like criminals by US Read more

* We want an unconditional apology from the US, says Union Minister Kamal Nath.

Twitter reacts as strongly as the government

* Delhi Police removed the security barricades set up outside American Embassy immediately after government announced a slew of reprisal measures over the treatment meted out to India's Deputy Consul General in New York Devyani Khobragade by the US authorities.A number of cranes, deployed by Delhi police, removed the concrete barricades outside the Embassy at the diplomatic enclave in Chanakyapuri locality of central Delhi. The police also opened the Nyaya Marg for general traffic."The Ministry of External Affairs requested us to remove these traffic measures around the US Embassy and clear the road. The Nyaya Marg has been opened for public," Special Commissioner of Delhi Police (Security) Taj Hassan said.

 

* Uttam Khobragade, the father of Devyani Khobragade, the diplomat who was arrested last week in connection with a visa fraud case, met Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Tuesday and said the government supports Devyani, and termed the whole incident as ‘atrocious’. Read more

* India today retaliated strongly to the arrest of its Deputy Consul General in New York by initiating series of steps to strip US diplomats and their families of privileges including withdrawing all airport passes and stopping import clearances for the embassy.

* Asking all Consulate personnel and their families to turn in their ID cards immediately, the government has also sought key information such as salaries paid to all Indian staff employed at the consulates and by Consulate officers and families including as domestic helps.

Devyani Khobragade case: More than just a question of diplomatic immunity

*"The government has asked for all US Consulate personnel's ID cards and that of their families immediately. These will now be downgraded on par with with what the US provides to our Consulates in US," sources said.

* The government has asked the US to provide it with visa information and other details of all teachers at US schools and pay and bank accounts of Indians in these schools.

* Apart from these measures, Government has stopped all import clearances for the US embassy including for liquor.

* Also, the traffic barricades near the US embassy on Nyaya Marg here will be lifted except the picket.

* India has reacted sharply to the arrest of Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade, who was handcuffed in public in New York on visa fraud charges last week. Earlier, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh summoned US Ambassador Nancy Powell and issued a demarche in this regard.

* The displeasure was also evident among leaders and officials of Indian government who cancelled their meetings with visiting US Congressional delegation. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde today cancelled his meeting with the US team ostensibly as a mark of protest against the treatment meted out to Khobragade.

* Yesterday, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had cancelled her meeting with a senior US Congressional delegation due to the same reason.

* National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, who also had a scheduled meeting with the five-member US team, did not meet them, apparently for the same reason.

* The delegation comprised Congressmen George Holding (Republican - North Carolina), Pete Olson (Republican - Texas) David Schweikert (Republican - Arizona), Robert Woodall (Republican - Georgia), Madeleine Bordallo (Democrat - Guam).

* 39-year-old Khobragade, a 1999-batch IFS officer, was taken into custody last week on visa fraud charges on a street in New York as she was dropping her daughter to school before being released on a $250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.

* India calls for details including salaries paid to all Indian staff employed at the US consulates, including Consulate officers & family.

* Stops all import clearances for US embassy including food and liquor.

Angry over the "despicable" and "barbaric" treatment meted out to its diplomat, India Tuesday asked US diplomats to turn in their IDs even as Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde declined to meet a visiting US Congressional delegation.

Rahul Gandhi and Shinde on Tuesday refused to meet the US Congressional delegation, comprising Republican and Democrat members, to highlight India's strong disapproval of the arrest, handcuffing and strip search of diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York last week.

Also read: My daughter is being made a scapegoat: Devyani Khobragade's father

US diplomats in consulates have been asked to surrender their IDs, a source said.

On Monday, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon cancelled their meetings separately with the visiting US delegation.

The NSA is known to have described the treatment meted out to Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York, as "barbaric" and "despicable", a source said.

Khobragade was strip searched, confined to a cell with drug addicts and also subjected to DNA swabbing, sources confirmed said.

Speaker Meira Kumar, herself a former Indian career diplomat, declined to meet the US delegation "as a sign of displeasure" over the treatment meted out Khobragade.

BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi too declined to meet the US team. He tweeted: "Refused to meet the visiting USA delegation in solidarity with our nation, protesting ill-treatment meted to our lady diplomat in USA."

Khobragade, one of India's senior diplomats in New York, was charged last week with visa fraud and making false statements.

She was accused by Manhattan's Indian American US Attorney Preet Bharara of visa fraud and exploiting her babysitter and housekeeper. She was handcuffed in public by law enforcement authorities in New York Thursday while she was dropping her daughter at school.

India has termed the treatment meted out to the envoy as "absolutely unacceptable". US Ambassador Nancy Powell was summoned to South Block by Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh on Dec 13 and a strong protest was lodged over the treatment.

The US delegation is led by Congressmen George Holding (Republican-North Carolina), and comprises Pete Olson (Republican-Texas), David Schweikert (Republican-Arizona), Robert Woodall (Republican-Arizona) and Madeleine Bordallo (Democrat-Guam).


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