Preet Bharara, the Indian-born US attorney who was the prosecutor in the Devyani Khobragade case, has said he was upset with the ‘intense’ criticism and accusations hurled at him by the Indian government and media for charging the Indian diplomat with visa fraud.
Bharara was addressing students and faculty of Harvard Law School during its 2014 Class Day ceremony last week.
Despite facing criticism from all quarters because of his work, Bharara said he got the most flak for prosecuting the former Indian deputy Counsul General even though the case was initiated and investigated by the US State Department and seasoned law enforcement officials.
“(It was) not the crime of the century but a serious crime nonetheless, that is why the State Department opened the case, that is why the State Department investigated it. That is why career agents in the State Department asked career prosecutors in my office to approve criminal charges,” he said.
He said he was bothered by the “line of attack” made by the Indian government and media, which charged him with bringing the case to “serve his white masters, presumably (US Attorney General) Eric Holder and (President) Barack Obama”, both of whom are black men. “That is an example of criticism that is stupid,” he said, adding that as the criticism got “increasingly intense”, it bothered his parents.
He said he was also concerned when he had to explain the accusations made against him to his young daughter. “That was not so pleasant… But as the accusations got more and more absurd, they became downright comical and I got some of my perspective back,” he said.
“Indian critics were angry because even though I hailed from India, I appeared to be going out of my way to act American and serve the interests of America, which was odd because I am American,” he said.