Leading to Devyani’s arrest,a verbal deal and ‘two contracts’https://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/leading-to-devyanis-arrest-a-verbal-deal-and-two-contracts/

Leading to Devyani’s arrest,a verbal deal and ‘two contracts’

Rs 30,000 agreed,$4,500 in visa application,back to Rs 30,000 in second contract.

According to the complaint against her in the US,Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade had first struck a verbal agreement with Sangeeta Richard and then signed two successive contracts,with a different wage specified in each.

The complaint was submitted to the US Department of Justice by the Diplomatic Security Services. A December 11 affidavit by a special agent of the DSS states it is based on statements by Sangeeta and her husband.

Under the verbal agreement in India,it is alleged,Sangeeta would go to the US as Khobragade’s personal employee,working as a babysitter and housekeeper. Khobragade,deputy consul general in New York,would pay her Rs 25,000 per month plus Rs 5,000 overtime, the total equivalent to about $573 and lower than the minimum wage requirement there. In the visa application form submitted on October 15,2012,however,Khobragade made a statement that she would be paying Sangeeta around $4,500 per month,the complaint says.

Khobragade also provided her employee with a contract of employment,which set out the terms of payment,allowed a weekly holiday,sick leave,medical care,boarding and lodging and other benefits to the employee,the complaint says. “Khobragade told Witness 1 (Sangeeta) that Witness 1 would be questioned about the terms of the first employment contract at her interview and that Witness 1 should say that Witness 1 would be paid $9.75 per hour and would work 40 hours per week,” reads the complaint,filed before a magistrate’s court in New York.

It alleges that Khobragade had instructed Sangeeta not to say anything about their verbal contract.

The DSS alleges that in a second contract,signed a little before departing for the US,the wage was changed to Rs 30,000,which translated to about $3.31 per hour at the then exchange rate. The second contract,according to the complaint,did not specify any maximum working hours for the employee either,and was also “silent” on the provisions of holidays,sick days and vacation days”.

Advertising

The complaint also notes that the DSS agent consulted the protocol section of the Department of State to confirm that Khobragade “enjoys limited diplomatic immunity with respect to only those acts undertaken in her official capacity”.