Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade speaking at Rutgers University last summer. Her arrest has sparked a war of words between India and the U.S. PHOTO: Reuters
India is outraged over the arrest and strip-search of diplomat Devyani Khobragade. Now, some are taking allegations against the U.S. a step further, claiming that the U.S. planned on arresting Khobragade long before they did, and they may have worked with the nanny who Khobragade is accused of underpaying.
Last week, U.S. officials arrested Khobragade after she dropped her kids off at school on charges of visa fraud—specifically that she claimed that the nanny, Sangeetha Richards, would be paid $4,500 a month, but in fact Richards received $537 a month.
So, where does the conspiracy come in? The U.S. apparently ignored reports from Indian officials over the summer that Richards had fled Khobragade’s home and was demanding back pay on the threat that she would go to U.S. authorities. An Indian court issued a warrant for Richards’ arrest on extortion charges, but the U.S. ignored that. Some have also noted that the U.S. has granted visas to Richards’ husband and two children.
Indian foreign minister Salman Khurshid stated outright that Khobragade was trapped in a "conspiracy."
"She is innocent,” said Kurshid. “It is not the illegality that she is accused of, but the illegality she refused to oblige."
U.S. officials hit back on the outrage over Khobragade’s arrest.
“Is it for U.S. prosecutors to look the other way, ignore the law and the civil rights of victims,” District Prosecutor Preet Bharara pondered, “or is it the responsibility of the diplomats and consular officers and their government to make sure the law is observed?”
“And one wonders,” Mr. Bharara went on, “why there is so much outrage about the alleged treatment of the Indian national accused of perpetrating these acts, but precious little outrage about the alleged treatment of the Indian victim and her spouse?”
What’s your take? Conspiracy, badly handled situation or much ado about nothing? The U.S. and India may never agree on their interpretation, and that could hurt relations for a long time to come.