U.S. Attorney: Indian Diplomat Indicted for Visa Fraud
UPDATE: 5:27 p.m.: A lawyer for Devyani Khobragade says she has not yet left the United States.
Read the original story below:
The Indian envoy at the center of a diplomatic dispute left the United States on Thursday just as she was indicted by a grand jury on visa fraud charges.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a letter to a federal judge that Devyani Khobragade has been indicted on two counts of visa fraud and making false statements.
But he revealed that she was "very recently" given diplomatic immunity status and has left the country.
Her arrest in New York City last month sparked an outcry by Indian officials and protests in the country after Khobragade was strip-searched while in the custody of the U.S. Marshals. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed anger over Khobragade's treatment.
Bharara, however, vigorously defended federal authorities' actions. He said Khobragade was afforded uncommon courtesies, including allowing her to make phone calls for two hours, letting her arrange for child care, and offering to get her coffee and food.
He said the strip-search was carried out in private by a female officer, calling it "standard practice" for any defendant.
The row continued to escalate this week as India announced it would eliminate some of the privileges enjoyed by U.S. diplomats in New Delhi. India disputes that Khobragade did anything wrong in trying to secure a visa for a housekeeper.
U.S. authorities claim she paid the housekeeper far less than U.S. minimum wage and lied about it on the visa application.