Millennium Post

US court dismisses Devyani’s indictment in visa fraud case

In a major relief for 39-year-old Khobragade that came exactly three months after her arrest, District Judge Shira Scheindlin said in her 14-page order ‘it is undisputed’ that the diplomat acquired full diplomatic immunity at 5:47 pm on 8 January 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.

The prosecution stand was outlined after the judge did not bar it from bringing new charges in future stemming from allegations she made a false statement to the US government in connection with visa application of her domestic help Sangeeta Richard.

While the indictment was returned on 9 January, Khobragade, who was Deputy Consul General in New York at the time of arrest, had the immunity till she departed from the US for India on the evening of 9 January  and so the prosecutors cannot proceed with the current indictment, the judge said.

‘Khobragade’s motion to dismiss the indictment on the ground of diplomatic immunity is granted. Khobragade’s conditions of bail are terminated, and her bond is exonerated.
Agencies

Agencies

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