Hours after Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade was indicted for visa fraud, her father on Thursday claimed that she had rejected an offer to “compromise” and stay in the United States as she was fighting to uphold the sovereignty of the country.
Uttam Khobragade also said that his 39-year-old daughter’s return vindicates their stand that any dispute can only be adjudicated in Indian courts.
“Devyani left the US soil today with full diplomatic immunity vindicating the stand that that whatever dispute is being raised in the US is a prerogative of the sovereign country India and can only be adjudicated in Indian courts,” he said.
Khobragade, a retired IAS officer, claimed that this was of paramount importance to her even when feelers were given
that if she compromises with her basic principles, she can continue to stay in the US.
“She rejected that offer outright. She is a proud Indian giving more importance to the sovereignty of this country and
dignity of the judicial system of India over the personal relief being offered and decided that her country’s sovereignty is dearer than her personal life and comfort,” he said.
The 1999 batch IFS officer was on Friday 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 charges against Khobragade will remain and she will have to face trial, if she returns to the US without diplomatic immunity, US Attorney Preet Bharara had said in a letter to District Judge Shira Scheindlin.
Thanking the External Affairs Minister, the Prime Minister and the media for their support during the “crisis”, Uttam Khobragade said, “This was the moment when the entire nation stood together for the cause which is dear to every Indian that is to assert sovereignty of the nation and the dignity of the Indian judicial system.”
“What Devyani was fighting was to uphold the sovereignty of this country and dignity of the judiciary system. When alternates were offered to her, to uphold the sovereignty of the nation, she sacrificed the personal comfort being offered
to her,” he said.
“Now, because of the support from all of you and entire nation, my daughter is going to come back to the country and unite with the family. This would not have been possible without the support of the entire nation, entire media and the government,” he said.
Khobragade said their only concern was that all such disputes are adjudicated by the Indian Government and the Indian judicial system.
Asked about the kind of alternatives that Devyani was offered, her father said, “You pay damages, pay the fine to
the lady (maid) also to the person who investigated and all charges will be dropped and you can stay…Devyani clearly
refused as any such move would have amounted to compromising with the sovereignty of the country as dispute between two
Indian citizens can only be decided by Indian Government and the Indian judicial system.”
Devyani’s father said her stand was that whatever dispute the lady had raised regarding the payment and work is all in
the domain of the Indian Government. The issue is already with the Indian Judicial System.
“If I accept this guilt, this will amount to compromising with the sovereignty of the country and dignity of the Indian
judicial system and I will not do that. Even if I will have to go to jail for wrong charges, I won’t mind,” he said.
He said Devyani’s husband and children will join her in India very soon.
“We are proud Indians. We as a family would not like to touch the soil of the country which treats human beings in such an inhuman way…such utter violation of human rights, utter violation of Geneva Conventions,” he said.