Monday, Dec 22, 2014

Devyani Khobragade has no immunity, says US

The US said federal authorities were not wrong in arresting and detaining Khobragade on visa fraud charges. The US said federal authorities were not wrong in arresting and detaining Khobragade on visa fraud charges.
By: Press Trust of India | New York | Posted: February 2, 2014 12:29 am | Updated: February 2, 2014 4:11 am

The US State Department has contended that Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade does not enjoy immunity from prosecution on charges of visa fraud and making false statements but her lawyer on Saturday rejected the assertion, saying the issue will be decided by the court.

Papers submitted to a court here on Friday by Manhattan’s federal prosecutor, India-born Preet Bharara, concluded that US authorities were not wrong in arresting and detaining Khobragade on visa fraud charges on December 12 since she did not have full diplomatic immunity in her capacity as India’s Deputy Consul General.

The declaration, dated January 29 and signed by Attorney-Advisor in the Office of the Legal Advisor of the Department of State Stephen Kerr, was submitted by Bharara in support of his memorandum opposing 39-year-old Khobragade’s motion to dismiss the indictment against her.

“The Department of State concludes that Dr Khobragade did not enjoy immunity from arrest or detention at the time of her arrest in this case, and she does not presently enjoy immunity from prosecution for the crimes charged in the indictment,” the declaration said.

Responding to Bharara’s motion, Khobragade’s attorney Daniel Arshack told PTI that the “US Attorney is again wrong on the facts and the law”. The court will decide these issues, he said. Arshack has time till February 7 to file his reply to the government’s motion.

The declaration was among eight documents that Bharara submitted in court as proof that Khobragade is not immune from prosecution and that the indictment against her should not be dismissed. Bharara’s motion came in response to Arshack’s request to the court on January 14 to dismiss the indictment and terminate any “open” arrest warrants or requests for her extradition.

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