In an effort to ensure that Devyani Khobragade gets full diplomatic immunity for her remaining stay in the United States,the government has transferred her to India’s Permanent Mission in New York with immediate effect.
However,the complication is that she would have to apply for a fresh diplomatic card through the UN Secretariat,which would ultimately go for clearance to the US State Department. Here is where the Indians are hoping that Washington will show some positive intent by issuing the card and,in doing so,extend full immunity to her.
If this process were to go through,sources said,it would ensure that Khobragade would not be subjected to any arrest or custodial interrogation in the future. The order,sources said,were issued on Tuesday night.
It may be noted that US authorities had arrested Khobragade,India’s Deputy Consul in the New York consulate,for alleged visa fraud on grounds that she did not honour the commitment to pay minimum wages as per US rules in the visa form for her domestic help.
The move to arrest her was justified on the grounds that Khobragade was covered under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations which applies to officials working in consulates as opposed to those working in embassy. According to this,the diplomatic immunity is only confined to consular work and not to personal conduct for. It also allows for arrest in case of a “grave crime”.
By transferring Khobragade to India’s UN mission,the government is aiming to get her full diplomatic immunity as the Permanent Mission of India is covered by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations besides other UN rules.