Washington, Dec 23: Devyani Khobragade, the former deputy consul general at the centre of an India-US diplomatic row, has got a waiver from a US court from personally appearing for pre-trial processes, but her UN accreditation is still in the works.
The order to exempt Khobragade, charged with visa fraud and underpaying her housekeeper, from weekly appearances in the pre-trial process was issued Friday by a New York court, according to her lawyer Daniel Arshack.
In a bid to get diplomatic immunity for Khobragade, who was deputy consul general when the charges were filed against her, India transferred her to its Permanent Mission to the UN, which is yet to forward her papers to the host government.
Once the State Department approves her appointment at the UN, she will get full “diplomatic immunity” as opposed to limited “consular immunity” for actions related to her official work, but the current charges against her will remain on the book.
Contrary to media reports from India, there was no hearing scheduled for Monday and there was nothing scheduled for court till Jan 13, according to Arshack.
There was also a “strong chance” that the Jan 13 hearing too would be postponed amid intensified efforts to resolve the crisis sparked by Khobragade’s strip and cavity searches after her Dec 12 arrest when she was dropping her daughter at school.
Meanwhile, S. Jaishankar, India’s new envoy to the US, arrived in New York Monday and is on way to Washington to take charge of efforts to resolve the crisis.
Jaishankar, who is coming to the US after serving in China and played a key role in working out the landmark India-US nuclear deal, has broad contacts with Washington officials dealing with the crisis.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)