Diplomat’s father threatens fast, says daughter innocent
Uttam Khobragade, a retired IAS officer, said the arrest of his daughter was part of a conspiracy
Mumbai: The father of Devyani Khobragade today threatened to launch a fast if “fabricated” charges of visa fraud against his diplomat daughter were not dropped and her honor restored even as he dubbed as “blatant” attack on Indian judiciary US attorney Preet Bharara’s remarks after the incident.
Uttam Khobragade, a retired IAS officer, said the arrest of his daughter was part of a conspiracy and asserted no fraud was committed by Devyani and no false information tendered by her regarding the salary to be paid to her missing housemaid Sangeeta Richard.
He castigated Bharara for his comments which he said were against the Indian judicial system and “scandalized the process of justice in India”.
“I will try to meet Sonia Gandhi, I will try to meet Manmohan Singh. If this justice is simply not acceptable, then I will go on fast,” he said.
“I have no purpose in staying in this world… If my daughter cannot be secured, her honour cannot be restored, if false criminal cases cannot be withdrawn even by such a strong country of 100 crore,” he said.
“They have made a false deposition in the FIR that we mentioned USD 4500 as the salary of the servant. It was the salary of Devyani. The FIR is a false document. It was fabricated to arrest Devyani,” he said.
Khobragade said if at all any fraud had been committed, it was by Sangeeta.
“Sangeeta made the application for the visa. Sangeeta put her signature on the application, she was twice interviewed by the US officials. Who got the benefit? Sangeeta got the visa. If there is any fraud, it has been done by Sangeeta Richard,” he said.
Khobragade slammed Bharara for his “damaging” statement against the Indian government and judiciary.
“The statement says the victim’s (Sangeeta) family has been brought to the US so they admit it (that they were brought by the US authorities). An attempt was made to silence her and compel to return to India. So what’s wrong in this, she is an Indian citizen.
“This office and justice department are compelled to make sure that the victim, witnesses and the family are safe and secure while cases are pending in India,” Khobragade said, quoting from Bharara’s purported statement.
Khobragade said Bharara’s statement suggested that Indian courts were not doing justice to Sangeeta but trying to “silence” her.
“Is it not a criminal, serious contempt of court? I want to appeal to the Supreme Court to please take cognizance of his utterance which is nothing but scandalizing the process of justice in India,” he said.
Khobragade termed Bharara’s statement as “a blatant attack” on Indian judiciary and government.
“This statement is clearly reflecting their mental state. It has confirmed the conspiracy. It is tantamount to saying that the Indian government is not protecting their citizens that is why we are protecting them sitting in New York,” he said.
“Is it the Prime Minister or is it Preet Bharara who rules India?” he asked. Maintaining that there was a “well planned” conspiracy to target Devyani, he asked, “Is it a coincidence that her (Sangeeta’s) family was taken to the US two days before Devyani’s arrest? Is it a coincidence that her (Sangeeta’s father-in-law stays in a quarter provided by the US embassy.
The reason is something else. The conspiracy was planned to make Devyani a target of harassment.”
“Unless this false complaint is withdrawn, justice will not be done,” Khobragade said, adding “Devyani was arrested in the way which is never heard of in the history of Indian jurisprudence… arresting a young lady on the road, frisking, taking DNA test, swab… these had a methodology,” he said.