India asks US embassy to withdraw consular rank officer
New Delhi: In a swift retaliatory action, India today asked the US Embassy here to withdraw an officer of a rank similar to that of Devyani Khobragade who was asked to leave the US after being indicted for visa fraud and making false statements.
Government sources said India has reason to believe that this officer was involved in processes relating to Khobragade case and subsequent unilateral action by US.
On a day of dramatic developments, Khobragade was indicted for visa fraud and making false statements by a grand jury in New York which held that the charges against her will remain even as she headed back to India after being accorded full diplomatic immunity.
The US request to India to waive her diplomatic immunity was refused following which she was asked to leave the country.
The charges against 39-year-old Khobragade will remain and she will have to face trial, if she returns to the US without diplomatic immunity, US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a letter to District Judge Shira Scheindlin.
Bharara said the grand jury has indicted the diplomat on two counts of visa fraud and making false statements in connection with the visa application of her domestic help Sangeeta Richard.
Khobragade was granted full diplomatic immunity on January 8 under the India-US Headquarters agreement.
On January 9, the US request for waiver of diplomatic immunity to Khobragade was refused by India.
A 1999-batch IFS officer, Khobragade, was arrested on December 12 on charges of making false declarations in a visa application for her maid. She was released on a USD 250,000 bond.
The diplomat was strip searched and held with criminals, triggering a row between the two sides with India retaliating by downgrading privileges of certain category of US diplomats.