‘Devyani told maid not to fall ill in New York’

Told her maid Richard medical treatment would be too expensive.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:January 16, 2014 1:21 am
Khobragade was indicted in a New York court on two counts of visa fraud and misrepresentation of facts. (AP) Khobragade was indicted in a New York court on two counts of visa fraud and misrepresentation of facts. (AP)

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade had told her domestic help, Sangeeta Richard, not to fall ill since getting medical treatment for her in New York would be expensive, according to papers filed by US attorney Preet Bharara in a New York court to indict her. The maid was made to work for extremely long hours and without a single entire day off, according to the indictment filed against Khobragade, which was made public Wednesday. After two months, she was allowed to visit the church on Sunday, but had to cook all meals before going and had to work till 10 pm after returning, it stated.

It further stated that Khobragade made the domestic help work up to 100 or more hours per week which, based on the promised salary of $573 per month, would result in an actual hourly wage of $1.42 per hour or less. Khobragade, meanwhile, has asked the court to dismiss her indictment against her and terminate any “open” arrest warrants in the visa fraud case, arguing that she was “cloaked” in diplomatic immunity and cannot face criminal prosecution in the US.

The indictment also stated that Khobragade did not give the victim any holidays or sick leave. “Indeed, on two occasions when the victim became ill, the victim was not given a sick day. On one occasion, the victim had to ask to see a doctor several times before Khobragade relented. Khobragade told the victim not to get sick because it was expensive,” it said. “For approximately the first two months of the victim’s employment, the victim worked seven days a week. Khobragade told the victim that she would not have any days off because the victim was paid Rs 30,000 per month, which covered overtime hours. After about two months, the victim requested to be given some time off on Sundays to attend church. Khobragade permitted the victim to take time off on Sundays approximately from 10.30 am to 5.30 or 6.30 pm, only on days when Khobragade’s husband was home.

On those instances, the victim was required to prepare all meals for Sundays in advance, and on Sundays when the victim returned to the Khobragade US residence, the victim was required to work until 9.30 or 10 pm,” the indictment paper said. “Beginning in or about February 2013, the victim told Khobragade on several occasions that the victim wished to end her employment and return to India, because the victim felt she was being mistreated. Khobragade denied her requests,” it said.

The US authorities accused Khobragade of helping the domestic help in submitting fake documents to the US State Department, saying that she was paying $4,500 per month, when in reality, the domestic help got only $573 a month. Khobragade had hired Richard in 2012 and she was working as a babysitter and domestic help at her house in the upscale Manhattan area of New York till last June.

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  1. C
    Change698
    Jan 16, 2014 at 3:40 am
    Reads like a fairy tale. First off, the maid had medical insurance which would have taken care of the medical bills. It is very possible that DK might have conversationally told the maid that medical facilities are quite expensive in the US, which they are when compared to India where one can get free treatment in a Govt hospital.
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      DR RAMANUJA
      Jan 16, 2014 at 2:50 pm
      25 lac inr for one day hospital charge?. Obamas health care wanted to mitigate this to some extent. Only GOD SHOULD GIVE GOOD HEALTH or Health insurance.
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        Chacha
        Jan 16, 2014 at 6:05 am
        Khobragade herself comes from schedule caste tribe. Khobragade should not have behaved as a slave master. USA even put a Soudi Princess in jail for similar charges in Califorina. Just imagine if Indians are allowed to bring in a slave at Indian wages in USA. I am proud of what USA did. If india wants her diplomats to have a maid then it should pay wages accordingly to her diplomatic staff. Cavity search is a norm in USA. What if USA had arrested her husband and did a cavity search on him, then it would have been non-issue and as her husband is an american citizen, he would have a fellon for life in USA.
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          dodanr
          Jan 15, 2014 at 8:44 pm
          Very reasonable advice. Given the cost of healthcare in the US, and the fact that a simple fall could bankrupt the uninsured.This is not india, where you can go to a corner dr. office and get treatment. One of my friends dad had a stroke when he was visiting an the hospital charged him 175K USD for a 4 day stay.Both the maid and the diplomat think US is india. Diplomat thinking she 'needs' or 'deserves' a maid. And the maid thinking she's enled to free rent and food etc. and the US work ethic.
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            suresh
            Jan 17, 2014 at 4:12 am
            BHARITYA NARI
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              Krishna Kumar
              Jan 16, 2014 at 5:25 pm
              The question is treating a servant. DK treatment ia unacceptable. DK also filed misleading docs with US immigration. She thought she can get away with any thing. US is not Inidia. Now her father wants a Loksabha ticket. May be a ministry later. We dont know what DK wants later.:-)
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                golmaal
                Jan 20, 2014 at 10:01 pm
                The accusations are nonsense. All NRIs advise their visiting parents to avoid falling sick in US because medical costs can run up. So, are they abusing their parents. What kind of sickness was it? If it was fever or cough/cold, yes we ourselves try over the counter medication before we go to doctor. Who gets an employer to take you to the doctor? And then she got Sundays off for going to the church. All these are nonsense claims about abuse with no proof.
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                  kmadangopal
                  Jan 16, 2014 at 10:59 am
                  The w episode could have been nipped in bud and handled in professional than an impulsive way, but now we have to get ready to face the consequences of these developments.
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                    Naresh Jain
                    Jan 16, 2014 at 4:11 pm
                    Before commenting on issue like this, better know the cost of living & medical care in US. Giving such advice is no offense. I am now with my daughter in US also was advised to bring all possible Medicen may be required during the stay, as medical bills have to paid from pocket will turn us pauper. Also got travel insurance for any emergency if rise, which costed me almost 1/2 of air fare. In any case it is going to cost to GOI/ public money.
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                      Naresh Jain
                      Jan 16, 2014 at 4:15 pm
                      I want to add recently my daughter has delivered her baby, medical bill of hospital has come to $1,30,000 which is paid by Insurance. So living in US without health insurance is only un- thinkable.
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                        Naresh Jain
                        Jan 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm
                        If she would have been paying at US minimum wages, @ 10$ per hr. & 40 hr. a week. That would have costed, about 1800$ a month, should have been less than 4500$ a month as figure had to put in visa application. it should have costed her 1800x62= 105600 rupees a month for 40 hrs. working each week. Or 4500x62=279000 rupees a month, as per visa application. Would it not cost to public money as said by you direct or indirect. In similar fashion the diplomat posted in such country also needed to paid according ries of equal ranking officer of US officer to maintain such costly domestic help. Or she manage her home herself without caring for her diplomatic duties. Another solution may be not to post women officer in these countries, as male can ask his wife to manage the affair of home & children. Which option we like. This problem is needed to be resolved between Two governments, rather in courts of law.
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                          NL
                          Jan 16, 2014 at 6:35 am
                          Shame on this Khobrogade! she has a nerve to defend her wrongdoings instead of accepting her mistakes!! ruined the respect and country's name,,,and pretending to be innocent!!!
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                            Srinivasan
                            Jan 16, 2014 at 3:53 pm
                            The traitor in all this is Preet Bharara, who is aiming to appease unions in New York by acting tough on the "big bad employer" Devayani. The unions may throw him some bones for his loyalty if/when he runs for Congress as a Democrat. If ever he sets foot in India, his country of birth, arrest him for jaywalking and strip search him in front of news cameras.
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                              Sachin R
                              Jan 16, 2014 at 5:31 am
                              Tired of the discussion - ok - the procedure to arrest DK was not upheld. Apart from that - it seems to me we, Indians, take our mentality and treat people who work as domestic help like slaves !!!! I am quite sure - as DK - is a qualified IAS officer - she has 2 bits of brains - and knows the rules of the country she is posted. I am sure again - apart from the way of arrest - that the US of A is taking the right steps and we, Indians - the government - should stop making so much NOISE about it. At the end of the day any qualified IAS Officer - can use the 2 bits of brains and think about the legal implications beforehand rather than waste the TAX PAYERS MONEY TO FIGHT HER CASE !!!!
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                                n jain
                                Jan 16, 2014 at 10:39 am
                                She has got a great support back in india from political parties as elections are near and votes of backward cles are dear to them
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                                  n jain
                                  Jan 16, 2014 at 10:40 am
                                  She has got a great support back in india from political parties as elections are near and votes of backward cles are dear to them
                                  Reply
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