An Indian view on history, current affairs and politics

October 29, 2020

Implications of Indian Deputy Consul General’s arrest in US!

Diplomatic circles in India were sent into a tizzy after the arrest of Indian Deputy Consul General, Devyani Khobragade in New York. She was charged with one count of visa fraud and one count of making false statements. The issue is related to the A-3 visa application that she submitted for an Indian national who served as a babysitter and housekeeper at her residence in New York. According to the allegations the worker ended up working more hours and getting paid less than what was mentioned in the visa application. She was produced before a magistrate and later released on a bond of USD 250,000 after she pleaded not guilty.

It seems the action against Khobragade was taken on the basis of allegations raised by her former domestic assistant, Sangeeta Richard who is absconding since June this year. A case against her is going on in Delhi high court and a restraining order issued to prevent Richard from starting any proceedings against Khobragade outside India on the basis of her terms of employment.The US government had been informed of the court order to locate Richard and felicitate her arrest as per provisions of the arrest warrant issued by Delhi court. An action despite this shows complete disregard by American authorities of the Indian court order.

Its important to note Khobragade was serving as the acting Consul general at the time of her arrest. She has previously been posted in Germany, Italy and Pakistan. She was arrested handcuffed and taken into custody while dropping her daughter to school. While the Indian embassy has conveyed its strong concern, diplomats posted there say it was unprecedented and inappropriate for a diplomat to be arrested on such frivolous charge.

Unprecedented indeed ! Diplomats are protected under Vienna convention and enjoy immunity from arrest in their host country. Diplomats in past have evaded arrest despite serious crimes like Murder, manslaughter, torture and espionage which is treated as an act of war. The arrest and handcuffing of Indian diplomat, given the rules of Vienna convention, seems unjust and sinister. This is not just US enforcing its laws. The diplomat could have been summoned and questioned but the very public arrest and humiliation hints at a message US is trying to convey. Given the engagements diplomats have on a daily basis, they need to rely on hired helps. Diplomats allege, they’re paid salaries as per Indian rates and it’s not possible for them to pay salaries to domestic helps at US rates as it would then be higher than their own salary. At best this case is about an Indian diplomat paying a domestic help as per Indian rates and not a case of ill treatment or torture as it is made out to be.

The arrest was made after charges were announced against her by US attorney for southern district of New York, Preet Bharara. Like Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, Preet belongs to a generation of Indian origin American achievers who have attained high office and nurture political ambitions. The arrest ordered by a person like him wouldn’t antagonize the Indian community. On the contrary, a strict action against a high ranking Indian official is only going to cement his American credentials and win acceptability among communities that see him as an Indian achiever only. Of course arresting a senior diplomat cannot just be a matter of attorney general’s office and it must have had nod from higher ups. Such actions indicate diplomatic maneuvers taking an ugly turn. Something between relations of two country that is not right.

When India decided to award the USD 11Bn contract for fighter jets to Rafael, France, US responded at diplomat level. US ambassador Timothy Roemer, resigned and his post was deliberately kept vacant for eight months which was unprecedented. We all know US plays a big role behind the scenes in Indo Pak game, business policies and foreign relations. Using all sorts of pressure tactics, they have in past forced India to toe their line. So i wouldn’t be a surprise if this was yet another ploy. Maybe this is just a test to see India’s response, to see how cohesive and firm India can be. Maybe this is just a preparation for something yet to come. Such domestic help issues are not uncommon in Indian diplomatic circles. What could be the reason to target a women diplomat with handcuffing, strip search, cavity search and lock up with criminals? For one, it is to amplify the humiliation of Indian Government. Secondly, Devyani was named in Adarsh Society scam. Given the public mood in India against corruption, US might have hoped the public reaction in India might not be sympathetic towards Devyani. It has been confirmed that Bharara’s office arranged for the Domestic help’s family to travel to US two days before the arrest. Spending so much public money and effort on his case shows the administration’s determination to make an example out of the Indian diplomat.

This suggestion may not be without a reason. The actions of the maid do raise some questions. Prior to joining Devyani, the maid was working at a US diplomat’s house in Delhi. She seemed to have developed some contacts within US embassy during that time. Within seven months of coming to US with Devyani, the lady mysteriously went missing, only to call the diplomat later asking for compensation, a new passport and assistance in getting a new job. Interestingly Devyani’s repeated attempt at getting a missing persons report with NYPD were denied. There are insinuations made in certain quarters that the maid may have been a plant by US authorities to spy on Devyani. A complaint by Devyani’s husband accuses her of stealing valuables and documents. Given the extraordinary length US authorities went to hide and protect the maid and evacuate her family just before the arrest, seems there’s a lot to this story than it looks.

The arrest has come at a time when the UPA government in India is at its weakest after its debacle in recent assembly polls and may lack the strength and will to react. This may also be a pressure tactic by US to nudge India into the direction they want on certain issues. The Afgan withdrawal maybe. As the drama unfolds, the situation will get clearer in coming days, however to see a high ranking Indian diplomat handcuffed is a major embarrassment for the Indian government. I can only speculate how a government led by Modi at center would have reacted?

  • Harjeet Rekhi

    There is definitely some thing suspicious about this. Unfortunately Manmohan does not have the spine to act and teach US a lesson.

  • Rekha Saini

    Too bad for the lady getting arrested in front of her daughter

  • Gappu

    Did some one notice, she looks a lot like Frieda Pinto ??? Lol

    • Tappu

      +1 gapped …. Lol

    • Yes

      Yes I did!

  • Adrien Cambridge

    Why blame the US govt. when you can’t follow our laws

    • Ratnesh

      Did you read the article completely , I do hope you have done the same what most american’s do . Judge before you even know . Author said about Diplomats are protected under Vienna convention. So what I understood is that’s not your LAW . Its an agreement among the countries.

    • desi

      It is a known fact that most, if not all, US personnel in their embassies in India flout Indian laws every day, with the Indian authorities just giving them a wink. Imagine, as some have already asked there, if they start arresting all these Americans and start giving them a good cavity wash! Just for Adrien’s info, Indian policemen will enjoy shoving their fingers up the rear end of americans women as much as I am sure these ny crooks, err cops, did doing it to the Indian lady. And they can simply say they were following standard practices since the americans were breaking Indian laws. Some stupid low-level macho guy in either the state dept or ny cops screwed up thoroughly in this instance- maybe his hormones were acting up.

    • Jay

      Do you have an idea of laws flouted by americans in India? Do you know homosexuality is criminial in India and do you know how many from the american counsel have declared live-in same sex partners? Now you might not agree with our law. Similarly, there are constraints in following the law for Indian diplomats in US. The game is beyond what you and I see. So, let’s wait and watch. But, if americans think India is a pushover like in the past, they will be proved wrong.

      • voidist

        india is a push over…ask muslim terrorists …you can do nothing to them…..

    • bigben

      Dont blame the Indian govt either when like treatment is meted out to US consul officials & spouses.

    • voidist

      lets do a test… many indians would like to get the hell out of india and setlle in US…?

      answer : at least 1 billion..

      how many americans would like to settle in india ? answer : 100 ? maybe ?

      point made ? so my fellow indians…come down to earth…you are nobodies..

  • Ratnesh

    US pushing them self into Global police role , its all because of lack of our political will . I had been in evacuated from Tchad [African country] by French army due to civil war to France, but Indian embassy came after 12 hours for us and that too without any preparation . What our airport authority told us that they have conveyed this message to Indian embassy before our departure from Tchad.
    Its the mentality of Indian Governance , we follow Newtons first law of motion. No body can make us moving if we are in state if inertia.
    I do hope that a day will come when we Indian understand our potential and stop using other country product to show what we are .

  • Guest

    Americans have a long love affair with guns and handcuffs, maybe it is the Wild West in their DNA. Even the MD of the IMF had to take his perp walk

  • sale

    what can you expect from americans

    a half bred president who lies about health care

    kim kardashain and kanye west are the idols of american highschoolers

    koch brothers and the right almost made the american govt default..

    lobbyists on kstreet own the u.s. policy on anything.. its pay for play country now

    americans are so dumb they cannot handle math or science

    americans are not going to have a middle class in 20 years

    chinese will take factory jobs

    indians will take all the brain jobs

    mexican will do the illegal jobs

    all you can eat buffet, genetically modified food, zimmerman, negro in jails, and gun rights are the topics of the generation.. do not forget social media porn too..

    whats left.. for americans.. hand outs, welfare, violence in school etc.. what a waste of space..

    • voidist

      do a test… many indians would like to get the hell out of india and
      setlle in US…?

      answer : at least 1 billion..

      many americans would like to settle in india ? answer : 100 ? maybe

      point made ? so my fellow indians…come down to earth…you are

      • Sankalp

        No you idiot, its morons like you who will go to US not a billion indians, there’re more than 100 americans working in my company alone. Maybe you’ve been rotting in that shitty country for too long to realize India has changed.

        • voidist

          why cant you admit that u are a third world Country with a per capita income of
          500 Dollars and every Indian would like to get out of that hell hole if they could…..?
          btw is the News on the rape front ?
          tell us about killing unborn Girls….? real Champions our are…
          helpless against muslim terrorists who can do what they like in india….
          india ? Change ? dont be a sad Little Indian Joker …
          you will always be losers…
          p.s i am an indian

          • Sankalp

            OK you’re an Indian but, but a frustrated one. With 1.2bn people, India has its problems but so do other countries. Rape, crime, female infanticide are there but we’re handling it. We’re not hiding our ills we’re exposing it and addressing. Yes, india is changing and you need open eyes to acknowledge it.

            The only sad little Indian joker is you hiding in some shithole working as a cabbie, janitor or a shopkeeper trying to pretend how superior you’ve become by association with westerners.

            • voidist

              you dont understand me …..we complain non stop about corrupt politicians
              in india …yet when one is caught we get all defensive….this woman belongs
              to a very corrupt class , so why so many tears..for her ?
              muslim terrorists run free and wild in india , bribing Indian politicians…are
              you proud of that ?

              you are saying india is changing,,,but lalu prasad is already out on bail…

              how sad

              p.s i run several businesses from UK and US…..Where ever possible i try to help

              ..Young educated Indians are desperate to get out of india for a better life in

              the west and you know it….to solve a Problem acknowledge that there is one..

              mere Show of patroitism is of no use….if you dont have the economics behind you

              • Sankalp

                Ok, now you’re making some cogent arguments and i think we can have a meaningful dialog. Let me tell you at start, i appreciate and share the frustration you feel at the current mess we’re in. I’m equally upset at things like, rapes, corruption, girl child infanticide, crime, filthy streets and so many more things. But i believe things change when we act not by running away and ranting about it. a 100-200 years back westerners were buying selling slaves and burning blacks on crosses but now they’ve grown up and so will we. you may have been away from India for a while otherwise you’d noticed the change. Rapes are not a new phenomenon but now we’ve started naming and shaming the perps. The tens of thousands of people protesting against rape at India gate were Indians. From, MPs, MLAs, Godmen to Supreme court judges whoever is accused go to jail. Corrupt might still be getting away but remember thousands protested to get the lokpal bill. In recent elections the ruling congress accused of corruption is routed. A party named AAP which was formed just a year ago against corruption nearly secured majority in delhi.

                In regards to people wanting to come to US, sure you’re right, but you’re mistaken to assume they’re going to US because they hate India. People from all over the world go to US its not just unique to India. I had a chance to relocate to US as part of internal company transfer but i couldn’t stay beyond a fortnight during a initial orientation visit.

                About the current issue, i’m not trying to defend a particular person, i’m against the humiliation of an Indian, a representative of government of India. devyani can come to India and face charges as a criminal but there she is representing my country and she has my support just as you’d have it if something untoward happens to you because of your nationality or race.

                it’s easy to be a cynic, we need to go beyond cry baby attitude. Your situation is understandable though, having to face the taunts and insults for crimes happening in India but don’t be sorry and apologetic. We will overcome all ills.

                • voidist

                  well most of what you say makes sense….but some hotheads Need to cool
                  down……Indias Primary Export market is the US…
                  IF that market is lost because some People want to Play election politics, and
                  here i mean particularly the congress Party,…indias already weakening
                  economy would break down completely…..
                  i cant emphasise enough the importance of US MARKET to india….
                  and all this over a corrupt Indian official..think about it Sankalp…
                  i am glad you love your Country…i ts not something that i demean…
                  but i ts the economy that matters ..

                  best rgds
                  p.s why couldnt you stay when you came here ? were you homesick ?

                  • Sankalp

                    Seriously you think this issue will cause a breakdown in Indo- US economics? US is a country guided by profits of large corporations, and they’re saving billions by getting cheap resources in india. So its a two way street, US would lose too. but that’s a drastic thought leave it aside.

                    Think for a moment, what would have US done if they found out someone was sheltering Osama , killer of 3000 americans?
                    And what did they do after they found out that Pakistan did it?They continued billion dollar aid

                    things run much deep and relations do not disintegrate on such issues.

  • Oskar

    Every other country in this region does the same thing, why only pick on Indian diplomat?

    • voidist

      because they are most corrupt…..remember ?

  • Mahabodh

    India has lost its significance due to a weak govt. and rubber stamp prime minister in the world .being a senior officer Devyani suffered alot in usa without any gross offence .now one good lesson to be taught to US public and govt .indians should alert to show their their strength in the world .

  • Anil Gogate

    Politican Mayawati has said Indian government has reacted slowly because Devyani Khobragade was belonging to SC. Never thought our politicians would make such irresponsible statement. Now let us face some other facts. 1) Devayani used her SC quota for becoming MBBS but never practiced as medical practitioner. She would have treated thousands of patients by this time. 2) She used her SC quota to get admission to Indian foreign Services. 3) She and her father got flat in Adarsh society which was meant for widows of soldiers who died in war. Does Mayawati think she would got all above privileges on her own merit ? So no point in bring her caste into picture

    • Chirag

      Lets analyze this. The crime that the diplomat is accused of is not so grave that she is not given a chance to put up a defence and clarifications. There is an arrest straightaway that too in public. She has not given a chance to show up. This is not a terrorism charge. I am not ready to believe that even the US citizens are subject to such treatment. Second she is put up in prison with other criminals. Is this the way diplomats should be treated? What is more astonishing is their arrogance. They have not issued apologies and action against the officers involved in this episode. Even the Human Rights are the biggest hypocrites there. They would cry foul for anything of this sort being done by other governments for their diplomats but when it comes to their own government they are supporting it. If this is what US government and so called Human Right activist think is right, Indian government has a step in right direction to give it back to them by stripping the US diplomats of all privileges that they are getting in our country. Let them live like a normal Indian citizen with all local laws applicable to them and let us also put them behind bar for any non compliance to the local law. They should be alarmed as Indian prisons are far more dirty than the US prisons.

  • Ananta Rout

    US ENVOYS WERE TREATED LIKE ROYALTY IN INDIA. Govt of India had issued 40 unnamed passes to the USA diplomats in India to access all areas of Indian airports but the same has not been provided by USA to Indian Diplomats. This unnamed passes poses serious security THREAT as per BCAS. An official said there was apprehension that the US embassy officials could be misusing these unnamed passes and perhaps they could be even be used by the American intelligence agencies. GOVT OF INDIA must revoked all these 40 unnamed passes to USA immediately.

  • voidist

    it might be quite normal for Indians to love corrupt and criminal politicians at home ….but if
    they think this would be accepted in a more civilised Country like america they are wrong….
    p.s i am an indian

  • shail shankar

    Just out of curiosity…..nobody noticed the response from Indian government!!! it is one of strongest reaction one has seen from indian government, least of all from a Government led by Dr. Manmohan Singh!!!

    • Manpreet Khatri

      He is just trying to save a corrupt official who misused benefits and fooled us. Her father is a corrupt number 1 official involved in scams and very close to Shinde.

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