Khobragade exempted from appearing in US court, gets UN accredition

New Delhi, Dec 23: Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who was arrested and underwent a humiliating strip and cavity search, has been exempted from personally appearing in a New York Court hearing visa fraud charges against her. She has also got accreditation to the UN headquarters, official sources said here.

Khobragade, who was arrested Dec 12 in New York, was shifted by the Indian government to its Permanent Mission to the UN, a step that gave her full diplomatic immunity.

Sources said her exemption from personal appearance in court was an important step towards resolving the standoff between India and US over the issue.

India has asked for an unconditional apology and also that charges against the deputy consul general in New York be dropped.

Reacting sharply to the treatment meted out to 39-year-old Khobragade, India also took a slew of steps to pare down the privileges of American diplomats here in a retaliatory measure.

Sources said the US embassy has sought extension of Monday’s deadline to give details of the salaries paid to Indian staff employed in US consulates, including those working as domestic help with the families of American officials.

The Indian government had also asked for salary details of teachers at US schools here to see if they are paying tax.

Khobragade was charged with paying lower salary – in comparison to US standards – to the Indian help she had taken along.

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 while she was dropping her daughter at school.

IANS