Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

Indictment: Some relief for Devyani as judge rules she had immunity

The ruling, however, left open the possibility that US prosecutors could bring a new indictment against Khobragade. The ruling, however, left open the possibility that US prosecutors could bring a new indictment against Khobragade.
Press Trust of India | New York | Posted: March 13, 2014 8:52 am | Updated: March 14, 2014 4:17 am

In relief for Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, a US judge has dismissed a federal indictment against her in a visa fraud case, ruling that she had full diplomatic immunity.

District Judge Shira Scheindlin said “it is undisputed” that the diplomat acquired full diplomatic immunity at 5.47 pm on January 8 after the US State Department approved her accreditation as a counsellor to India’s mission to the UN.

The ruling, however, left open the possibility that US prosecutors could bring a new indictment against Khobragade, and they “intend to proceed accordingly”, said James Margolin, a spokesman for Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara.

Khobragade’s lawyer said any decision to re-indict her might well be viewed as an “aggressive and unnecessary act”.

A MEA spokesperson said the dismissal of charges was “good as far as it goes”.

Judge Scheindlin has not barred the prosecution from bringing new charges stemming from allegations that Khobragade made a false statement regarding the visa application of her domestic help Sangeeta Richard, who later left her.

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