US To Go Ahead With Criminal Charges Against Devyani Khobragade

DevyaniThe US plans to go ahead with criminal charges against senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade even if, and when, she is covered by full diplomatic immunity.

“We have no intention of dropping the case,” said a US government source in condition of anonymity, adding it will only be frozen, not killed, by her immunity status.

US sources in New York said on Monday that more evidence was being gathered against the 39-year-old diplomat before the indictment is filed. The deadline for indictment is January 13.

But her transfer to the UN, which will bring her full diplomatic immunity, will protect her from prosecution or arrest.

The case will remain frozen only for the duration of Khobragade’s immunity cover. “She cannot be tried in absentia under US laws,” the source added.

Under the protection of UN immunity, she can leave for India or any other country and escape being tried, but only temporarily. She will be tried whenever she returns.

The charges against Khobragade – of visa fraud and making false statement – are not being dropped or withdrawn, sources emphasized.

Khobragade’s lawyer, Dan Arshack, has argued that the US court dealing with the case can dismiss the case citing his client’s immunity status.

Government sources said that the defendant can certainly ask the court to dismiss the case, but prosecutors may challenge that and argue for the case to be kept open.

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