India refuses US request to waive Devyani’s immunity
Washington: India today refused the United States’ request to waive the diplomatic immunity of senior diplomat Devyani Khobragade after the US accepted her request for UN accreditation, sources said.
“We have accepted the Indians request to accredit (Devyanai Khobragade to the United Nations),” a US government official told PTI.
He acknowledged that not accepting to this request of UN accreditation would have been very difficult for the United States.
“It is important to note that it would be almost without precedent to deny such a request except in the event of national security risks including espionage,” the official said.
Requesting anonymity as the official is not allowed to speak to the media on this sensitive issue, the official said once the UN accreditation was granted that gave her the full diplomatic immunity, the US immediately requested India to waive this immunity so that she can be tried in a US court.
As expected, India denied the request.
“The US requested waiver of immunity (of Devyani Khobragade).India denied that request,” the official said.
“We then requested her departure, as per the standard procedure and the charges remain in place,” the official added.
The official also confirmed that Khobragade has not left the country as being reported, after the US Attorney Preet Bharara had informed the District judge of New York Shira Scheindlin about it in a letter.
“(Khobragade) has not left the country,” the official said.
A 1999-batch IFS officer, Khobragade, was arrested on December 12 on charges of making false declarations in a visa application for her maid. She was released on a USD 250,000 bond.
The diplomat was strip searched and held with criminals, triggering a row between the two sides with India retaliating by downgrading privileges of certain category of US diplomats.
After the row broke out, Khobragade was transferred to India’s Permanent Mission to the UN. Following her arrest, her passport was kept in court’s custody.